Day 7 – Housing is the New Solution for Homelessness in the City of Lowell

 

homeless in snowContrary to what the title indicates, it isn’t a NEW solution. However, it is the LEAST expensive and the RIGHT solution,

So, as many who are reading this are sitting in warm homes, contentedly cruising the internet (including myself – no judgement here), I think back to the start of our day.

Our day began with a visit to Pathfinder Homeless Outreach in Lowell, where we gave an Apartment Search/SMART Tenant & Financial Assistance Workshop (ordinarily these are 2 workshops we offer in-house, however combined for this audience). This is the first of weekly workshops that will be offered to our homeless men and women currently being provided with homeless services in our community.

The nice aspect of this initiative is that we actually. have. funds. to re-house homeless individuals. Mind you, it isn’t much. Within the constraints of the funding source, we can furnish first months rent and those who receive the assistance must have a source of income that will sustain them moving forward.

 The Pathfinder Homeless Day Outreach Center was packed to the gills with approximately 30 homeless men and women. The ages ranged from 18 to 70 years of age.

Fortunately, we had 7 men and women who took advantage of the workshop we provided. The intent behind providing an Apartment Search/SMART tenant workshop is to; 1) give people the tools to search for an affordable market rate apartment 2) provide education around rental agreements, maintaining positive tenancies, reporting Health Code Violations and exiting rental agreements/leases properly and 3) Eviction Prevention.

Turns out three of the individuals in the workshop were in need of representative payee services. Community Teamwork provides those services. Check.

Two attendees required a referral to a health care facility for treatment of chronic medical conditions. Appointments made after the workshop. Check.

 Five of the workshop attendees are ready to re-house and needed start up costs. Check.

The remaining 2 attendees are young men who are soon to start the Alternative Diploma program at United Teen Equality Center and will soon thereafter enter thir workforce development program (which will bring about income – then we can re-house them)..not quite a check, but moving in the right direction.

As always, we like to find out more about the men and women we are serving:

  •  One gentleman worked most of his life at Tewksbury State Hospital. He sustained some serious injuries resulting in his having to retire on a medical disability. Life for him just went down the tubes after that with multiple surgeries, divorce and then homelessness – living in a tent.
  • A young lady, a former property owner and landlord, children in fathers custody, divorced, lost everything – living in a tent.
  • Another young woman, a licensed Insurance Agent (by the way, she maintains her license, despite being homeless). She and her partner spiraled into homelessness after she had developed a chronic medical condition which led to their becoming homeless due to the loss of income. – staying in shelter
  • A young deaf man  who lost his apartment due to lack of advocacy in working with his landlord. He and I communicated back and forth in writing – his case manager asserts that he must attend a slate of housing workshops, make phone calls himself to search for apartments, etc…Bulletin – he is completely hearing impaired. – staying in shelter

These seven individuals figure prominently into my brain this weekend as we hunker down in anticipation of a Blizzard that is bearing down on our city. Tonight, Lowell Transitional Living Center is full up with approximately 160 men and women under their roof and have had to close their doors to additional guests. Living Waters is opening for the night for those that cannot obtain shelter at Lowell Transitonal Living Center and there are estimates that there are STILL 30+ men and women staying in tents – on this night with such severe weather.

cardboard mat

Houston, we have a problem. The only way we can reduce our homeless numbers is to re-house them. As stated above, we have limited funds available for first months rent. Naturally, landlords typically require last months rent as well.

Wanna be a Rock Star? …..

1. Donate $5, $10, $25, $26 (26 Acts of Kindness), $100 or any amount you see fit. Funds to re-house homeless individuals in the City of Lowell are scarce and/or very limited.

2. If you are a landlord or know someone who is a landlord, let us know the availability of units so that we may collect the resources necessary to re-house this very vulnerable population.

Tax deductible donations may be made payable to “CTI-INDRH” and mailed to Community Teamwork, Inc. 17 Kirk St. Lowell, MA 01852. In kind (goods contributions) may be left at the CTI Resource Center at 17 Kirk St. Lowell.

100% of the funds and in kind donations generated will go directly to the men and women living outside and their subsequent re-housing efforts in the City of Lowell. Questions about what you can do? Call Kristin (978) 654-5617 or email kross@comteam.org

YOU are the Game Changer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s