Thursday, March 25, 2010

At the Beginning of the Journey

Family Coach Frenchie Pulluaim shares how a mom used our transitional housing to give her children some stability and security after a year of chaos.

"Carrie and her family came to Community LINC from the City Union Mission Shelter. Carrie lost her job and struggled for a year - moving from family member to family member to friends. She finally decided to go into a shelter to keep her family together. Carrie has been job searching, but stable housing will make it more likely that she will become self sufficient.

Her goals are to gain full time employment and permanent housing. The children are in school and doing well, she is hoping that stable housing will help the children to feel secure and safe."

- Laura Gray

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Hand Up

Federal stimulus funding enabled us to implement a Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing program targeted to prevent and quickly end homelessness for families impacted by the downturn in the economy. By definition, if not for this funding, the families served through the program would stay or become homeless.

From HPRP Case Manager Travis Beye:

A couple with four young daughters had been evicted from their home and were living in a homeless shelter. The mother was employed, and the father, who had lost his job due to medical reasons, was recovering and looking for new employment. The couple had located a rental house that would accommodate their family and that was within their budget. They were able to pay the security deposit, but needed assistance with the first month’s rent, after which they would be able to maintain their rent on their own. Their need was urgent, because they were about to reach the end of their allowed stay at the homeless shelter and they did not know where they would go. They also were afraid that the landlord of the house they planned to rent would become impatient and put the house back on the market.

The family met with Community LINC’s HPRP Case Manager to determine their eligibility for HPRP. They qualified for because they were experiencing an episode of homelessness but could also show that, with some assistance to get back on their feet, they would be able to maintain housing on their own.

After working with the landlord to enroll in the program, HPRP made a payment of the first month’s rent, allowing the family to move into a stable home. Realizing that the family had no furnishings for their new home, the HPRP Case Manager was able to work with Church of the Resurrection’s Furnishings Ministry to have beds, tables and chairs, dishes, kitchen items, furniture and even a television donated to the family. Since moving in to their new home in mid-December, the family has been able to follow their budget and maintain their rent and other necessary payments on their own.

- Laura Gray

Monday, March 8, 2010

Paying it Forward

I’ve always described the impact of providing an apartment in our transitional housing as being the gift of as a safe, stable place to live after being homeless, but last month our residents showed what it brings out in them as people.

After the Haiti earthquake, as the residents discussed the tragedy during a class session, one person after another expressed gratitude for having a safe, secure place for their families. That sense of gratitude lead to “what can we do for the people in Haiti.” They collected $161.00 for earthquake relief and are sending it to the American Red Cross.

Having their need for shelter met made it possible for them to see beyond themselves to the needs of others.

Their generosity is inspiring.

- Laura Gray

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Homeless in This Economy

At the end of January, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City published their Low- and Moderate- Income (LMI) populations Survey. It confirmed what we’ve observed among our homeless residents – that it’s taking much longer for them to find jobs, both because there are fewer jobs and because they are competing with more qualified people for low skills jobs.

From the survey: “Unemployment, lower incomes, lack of insurance and poor housing choices were commonly cited factors impairing recovery in the LMI community.”

". . .Survey results suggest that job prospects for the LMI population continued to decline in the fourth quarter, as most respondents reported that fewer jobs were available for LMI workers than in the previous quarter.

Survey comments offered that one factor curtailing job recovery in the LMI community is the employment of relatively high-skilledworkers in the low-skilled jobs that often were taken by LMI workers prior to the recession.

Respondents also reported that many of those finding jobs were earning less pay than before, putting continued strains on household budgets. Respondents observed that the unemployed in the LMI community were remaining jobless for longer periods of time.”

The next survey will be published in April. Hopefully, there will be some signs of the recovery.

- Laura Gray