Homeless agency set to launch Nevada County rehousing program
March 8, 2013
Thanks to a $148,000, one-year grant, Nevada County's largest homeless service organization will launch a rapid rehousing program to get people back into homes.
"It's a program to help people who have suddenly found themselves homeless get back into housing," said Cindy Maple, executive director of Hospitality House, which received the state's Housing and Community Development grant.
While the program is focused on newly homeless people, its practices will also apply to veterans, families and the chronically homeless, Maple said.
The premise of rapid rehousing is to take a methodical approach to the barriers keeping someone from finding a home rather than tackle them all at once, Maple said.
“There is a movement to house people, not just shelter them.”
— CINDY MAPLE, executive director of Hospitality House
"You have to break it down," Maple said.
While that may include sorting through all possible income alternatives, such as disability, social security, Medicaid and Medi-Cal or event veteran's benefits, it could be as simple as arranging for glasses or dental work, Maple said.
Hospitality House has always had a housing case manager, but the grant will allow the organization to staff another full-time equivalent position in that capacity, as well as a housing specialist, and extend the service to more than the nonprofit's guests.
"It's a benefit to not just our clients to know they have a support system," Maple said, noting that potential bosses and landlords are also alleviated of apprehensions when they know a person has a support network backing them up.
"There is a movement to house people, not just shelter them," Maple said. "It is more cost effective to put them in housing."
Chronically homeless people access $35,000-$150,000 per year in public services, Maple said.
Whenever a homeless person is hospitalized, incarcerated or requires police intervention or emergency shelter, expenses can add up quickly, making homelessness surprisingly expensive for municipalities and taxpayers, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
The rehousing program has a level of accountability incumbent upon participants, Maple said.
"They have to be fully invested in the program," she said.
The program will be a component of a Pathways to Independence Room at Hospitality House's new shelter, Utah's Place, which just received enough funding to begin renovations, the organization told The Union Friday.
Hospitality Houses's "Empty Bowl" event Saturday resulted in the sale of 700 ceramic bowls crafted by local artists.
"It was amazing," Maple said. "By the time we opened at noon, there was a line out the front door and all the way down the steps to the street. It was like a concert."
The bowls were used to serve more than 18 varieties of soup, as a reminder to participants of the plight of local, hungry, homeless people.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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