“If it weren’t for your help, we would be homeless.”
It is a well known fact that prevention is the best cure. Nowhere is this more true than with homelessness. In 2005, in response to the swelling numbers of homeless families in Lane County, ShelterCare assessed the most effective means of forestalling the personal and societal costs of this growing crisis. A key realization of that assessment focused on the fact that 20% of the families who called in search of emergency housing were still housed. Enter the Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP). Initiated in 2006, HPP responds to almost-homeless families with a comprehensive blanket of services and minimal financial assistance to keep them in their current living situations. Our staff provides families with education and support, including landlord mediation, referrals to long-term community resources, and the development of a financial plan including a wide-ranging budget that accounts for housing cost and debt priorities.
Thanks to private funding from foundations and individual supporters, this initiative has been able to grow to reach 120 families annually. This cost-effective program, which typically costs less than $1,000 per family, reflects a savings of $5,000 per family when compared to the cost required to shelter and re-house that same family. Not included in this are the intangible costs associated with the trauma of homelessness and its effect on the cognitive and physical development of children. One of our families summed up their experience by saying, “If it weren’t for your help, we would be homeless. We would have lost everything, including our cats, whom we love a great deal. ShelterCare has literally saved us from this horrible outcome.” Thanks to supporters like you, we are ensuring that even the most vulnerable members of our community have the opportunity to be in a home for the holidays.
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