The Homelessness Coalition says a resounding yes! Here is just a sampling:
A single woman just released from jail needed housing while she sought work and a long term place to live. She was provided a week’s stay in a hotel, thanks to funding from United Way.
A family was at risk of eviction from the home they were renting when illness prevented work for an extended period of time. They were assisted with funds toward a month’s rent, and in conjunction with resources provided by two other agencies, homelessness was prevented.
A young, eight months pregnant mom with two other kids was without housing when she fled an unsafe situation. She needed assistance in getting to her mother’s home several hours away. Gas money was provided to help them relocate to a stable home environment.
A man learned he could no longer stay with extended family here. Without sufficient income to support himself, he needed help with a bus ticket to return to his family base in another State.
The Homelessness Coalition of Mahaska County, is funded by United Way, occasional FEMA grants, and private donations. It is comprised of a core group of seven or eight volunteers (more are needed and welcomed!) who are committed to helping address ongoing homelessness issues in Mahaska County.
Poverty, unemployment, underemployment, substance abuse, mental illness, physical health and other factors all contribute to the complicated problem of homelessness.
About 80 people are assisted with homelessness related needs in our County each year! Homelessness Coalition funds are used to assist neighbors up to one time, in one way, per 12 month period.
Each request is evaluated to determine the best way to assist, and often includes referrals to other resources. United Way funds are used to provide safe, emergency short-term shelter (one to seven nights in hotel); help with partial rapid rehousing costs (toward deposit or 1st month rent costs); prevent homelessness with partial rent or utility assistance; purchase bus tickets to help individuals return to their home community or get to a long term shelter; provide emergency food or gasoline; cover the cost of the cell phone used by volunteers to respond to calls from neighbors in need requesting assistance.
Each situation is carefully assessed including each person’s plans for sustainability going forward. Homelessness Coalition volunteers also work extensively and collaboratively with other community agencies in verifying information and pooling resources.
The Homelessness Coalition could not exist without United Way support. On behalf of some in our community experiencing crises and difficult times, a big thank you to all for your support of the Homelessness Coalition through your United Way giving.