Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of updates from organizations that received an ESO award (Engaging-Systems Centric-Outcomes) from The Patterson Foundation for their work during the Recoding Organizational DNA initiative.
I look up at the women working behind the sliding glass check-in window as I wait to see my physician, and I’m reminded of a client who came through our program at the Family Haven. Lavonne works full-time as a receptionist for a well known, local medical group. She lived in an apartment with her 10-year-old daughter until their rent was raised last January. They spent two months living in motels, desperately searching for affordable housing before Lavonne eventually ran out of resources and called 211.
Lavonne and her daughter moved into our emergency housing at the Family Haven in April. Open to guidance and anxious to succeed, she explained her struggle looking for an apartment locally that would consider her income as a basis for her monthly rent. She accepted words of encouragement and support and never lost hope.
With the help of Harvest House and related organizations, Lavonne was able to secure a safe, affordable rental home in less than a week. By staying in constant contact with landlords and keeping up to date on housing opportunities in Sarasota County, the rapid re-housing program (a program we were able to establish with the support of The Patterson Foundation’s ESO Award) helped pay her deposits and first two months rent.
As part of Harvest House’s program of money management and budgeting, the majority of her income was saved while she and her daughter resided at the shelter. She worked enthusiastically on creating a budget, learning how to prioritize debt and how to manage disposable income. Her commitment to learning these skills was essential due to the severe lack of affordable housing in Sarasota County.
According to a recent article by NPR, more than 150,000 U.S. families are homeless each year. The number has been going down, in part because of rapid re-housing programs, which quickly move families out of shelters and into homes. Rapid re-housing is intended for families who face a short-term crisis, not those who face a host of barriers to sustainability. It’s been a big success for many families, and it's more stable and less expensive than putting a family in a shelter.
With the ESO Award from The Patterson Foundation, Harvest House has been able to help more than 10 families find secure housing that they can sustain.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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