Recently, I had the pleasure of giving a presentation to our City Council regarding our ESG (Emergency Solutions Grant) Rapid Rehousing program. This presentation gave me an opportunity to give those in attendance a quick glimpse of what the ESG program does for eligible clients and our community. This grant assists individuals who are literally homeless in transitioning from homelessness to permanent, stable housing. Eligible expenses in our ESG grant include rental application fees, security deposits, last month’s rent, moving costs, utility deposits, utility payments, and rental assistance. In 2016 we were awarded $46,400; with these funds we were able to assist 12 households (15 adults and 5 children) move out of homelessness. As I stated to the City Council, I know to some these numbers may appear to be low in relation to the large numbers of individuals that present themselves as homeless; but I urge you not to focus so much on the specific numbers we served, but rather take a month to examine the multitude of services we provided to each and every client.
As a participant in our program, the clients are required to meet no less than once per month with the grant administrator. During these meetings, we work together on establishing an individual action plan. This plan helps each individual identify specific priorities (employment, medical, transportation, etc.) and assists them in connecting with other resources/agencies in our community that might best help in addressing those priorities.
Once housing is established, our case management services includes, but is not limited to:
Each of these services is free of charge and are an integral part of establishing and sustaining housing for our participants once our assistance is no longer required or needed.
Naturally, with limited funding, we are not able to assist every individual that presents themselves in our office as homeless; however, we are able to make every client “count” by giving them individualized and specialized case management while holding true to our mission: “…to help empower individuals and families meet life’s challenges.” and our purpose: “…to empower individuals and families to become more self-reliant, responsible, and resourceful.”
So, as my weight-lifting coach once quoted in high school, “Don’t count the reps, make the reps count!” And that is what we do here with our clients: We make every single one of them count!
-Calvin Garner, Housing Coordinator