Since posting “What Does Homeless Look Like?” we have received several questions and comments from our readers regarding seeking help and assistance from charities and state aid. I think you may be shocked by the answer to this question – I know I was!
We have been without a home since January. We attempted to stay with friends and family for several months. No matter how well intended someone might be, you never truly feel welcome anywhere when you have five children and they don’t.
The first week of August my husband accepted a position as an offer at a Law Enforcement Agency in Pensacola. We thought we would be tent camping for two weeks, or so. Only temporary while we adjusted to the area and found housing. Pensacola offered a great job with good pay. So much so, we didn’t even bother to look at housing in the area before we left. Finding him a job was top priority and that was completed – success, right?
After two weeks of searching on our own we started asking his co-workers, the human resources department for the county, the manager of McDonald’s (where I was spending too much time borrowing wifi), anyone and everyone we encountered in conversation for longer than two minutes was asked about housing in the area! Nothing – no help.
While completing a hotel review I took the opportunity to call a few places to inquire about housing assistance and this was the result:
Housing Authority – The housing authority in the area told us that we were not considered “residents” of their county as we had never established housing there. Their funding is for residents of their county only. My husband’s employment in the area did not make any difference.
Charity Number 1 – I found the first portion of this woman’s comment to be a round-about-way of being discriminatory – I’m still rather confused at what she meant by this: “The assistance we offer is for the economic community considered the highest risk for being and remaining homeless….” (what does that mean exactly?)
When I proceeded to tell her that we had been tent camping in the area attempting to establish housing, she interrupted with “You are calling me from a hotel, therefore you have shelter and are not eligible for our assistance” and hung up on me!
Charity Number 2 and 3 – “We do not have funds available at this time”
Charity Number 4 – “We cannot help you with deposits, we can only offer assistance with your first month’s rent. You must find and establish housing, provide us with a copy of your lease…”
After one month of searching for housing in Pensacola we gave up. Our frustration led us West. Long story short, we are now in Southern Utah. My husband has again, found a job and we are moving forward with establishing housing in the area. I have inquired here regarding assistance and this is my result:
Homeless assistance in this area consists of homeless shelters, halfway houses, career training, resume building, GED help, childcare for those at the shelter. We are thankful that we have never needed to utilize these services as we have employment and a means to pay for our daily survival.
Emergency Rental Assistance funds are to be used to prevent families from becoming homeless – copy of a lease is required.
Section 8 is not accepting applications.
Low Income Rentals and public housing are all apartments that do not accept pets. My three legged tripod is non-negotiable. If she can’t go, neither do I! (I realize not everyone shares my thoughts on this, but when you have a pitbull, you are all they have – if you abandon them, they die! I’m not killing a family member!)
My conclusion – there is no help for the #homeless!
I think there is a huge misconception that there are all these “programs” available and that if a #homeless family wants help, they will seek them. We have sought programs. I have called, emailed, applied online, cried in fear of “what’s next’ to complete strangers.. nothing. A huge majority of the programs offered are designed to “Prevent homelessness”. Funds are exhausted very quickly for remaining programs.