Editor’s note: In January 2018 HACSA changed its name to Homes for Good Housing Agency
My name is Jacob Fox and I have the honor of serving on the ShelterCare board of directors. I’m the executive director of the Housing and Community Services Agency of Lane County (HACSA), and for many years we’ve partnered with ShelterCare to provide Housing First opportunities for Lane County’s most vulnerable citizens.
I would like to highlight two HACSA-ShelterCare partnership programs that have been tremendously effective, supporting our community’s goal of reducing homelessness by providing housing and services to those in need.
Shelter Plus Care
The first program is Shelter Plus Care (S+C), a federal rent assistance program that is part of the Lane County Continuum of Care (CoC) Program. The CoC Program primarily assists Lane County residents with serious mental illness. It is designed to alleviate homelessness by providing funding to nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families.
The S+C partnership between ShelterCare and HACSA began in 1994. The federal grant requires that we serve 48 households a year. Because of the effective partnership between our organizations, however, on average we serve 67 households a year. The reason we can serve so many more households is that ShelterCare provides matching funds from other funding sources and also because ShelterCare is so good at stabilizing these households that we can graduate people from Shelter Plus Care into HACSA’s housing choice voucher program, and create more opportunities for unhoused people to receive assistance from the Shelter Plus Care program.
The second HACSA-ShelterCare partnership supports the Madrone program—another Lane County Continuum of Care federal rent assistance program. In 2016 HACSA was awarded this grant to serve 33 chronically homeless individuals and families. When the original service provider unexpectedly declined the partnership, we approached ShelterCare to help us deploy this rent assistance, help identify housing in the community, and provide the supportive services necessary to stabilize these individuals and families.
Because of the delay in getting a service provider on board, HACSA was in jeopardy of not meeting the grant requirements. ShelterCare has been a valuable partner and integral part of this program’s success. I’m pleased to report that through this program we have successfully fulfilled the grant requirements by housing the 33 formerly homeless individuals and families.
Our community is absolutely a better place because of the critical role that ShelterCare plays. I’m grateful for the leadership that Susan Ban and the entire ShelterCare team bring to Lane County and proud that together we provide homes to more than 7,000 households in Lane County every year.