This month, we’re looking at our Stabilization service line, which includes Homelessness Prevention, Diversion, and Short-Term Stabilization programs. They reach people at imminent risk of homelessness, specifically those who:
- Will lose their homes within 14 days
- Have not found new housing
- Do not have resources or networks to find other permanent residences
We’ll look more closely at people at risk of homelessness, our stabilization programs, and how you can help keep people in housing.
Who’s at Risk of Homelessness
A growing number of people are on the edge of homelessness. Economists have described the economic recovery from COVID-19 as “K-shaped,” meaning that some households benefitted in the wake of the pandemic while others found themselves worse off. The most recent Census data shows that 11.6 percent of the population (37.9 million people) are in poverty, and experts believe the actual number may be even higher. Lower income households are housing burdened (devoting more than 30 percent of their income to rent), which puts them at higher risk of homelessness. In 2021, nearly half of all renters (49 percent) were housing burdened, including 83 percent of the lowest income households (making less than $30,000 a year).
Households in this position lack resources to deal with crises. Sudden expenses like car repairs, medical bills, job hours reduction or loss, and family changes can erode their stability. Once homeless, they have a harder time regaining housing. Living “doubled up” with family and friends or in places not meant for human habitation puts them at risk of chronic health and behavioral health conditions, accidents and injuries, and violence and exploitation.
How Do We Help Them?
BEDS Stabilization service line keeps vulnerable individuals and families in homes. It includes three programs:
- Homelessness Prevention: provides financial assistance for past due rent and case management to households that have undergone financial crises
- Short-Term Stabilization connects households who do not qualify for financial assistance with case management and community resources
- Diversion: implements creative solutions and one-time, targeted financial assistance to keep households on the brink of homelessness out of shelter
Why Are These Programs Important?
Stabilization services are the most efficient way to end homelessness. Homelessness forces people to focus on immediate needs: finding their next meal, finding a place to stay, keeping up personal hygiene, driving children to school, making it to work, et cetera. Our Emergency, Interim Housing, Transitional Housing, and Supportive Housing services can help them regain and sustain housing, but they place substantial demands on their time and energy, not to mention our staff, volunteers, and finances. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the average cost of sheltering and rehousing a person experiencing homelessness ranges between $55,000-$200,000. Our Homelessness Prevention keeps vulnerable households in homes with an average of only $3,200 for past due rent and $500 can help them pay for utilities, only 2 to 6 percent of average shelter and rehousing costs.
Who Have These Programs Helped?
Gracie and Joe were a day away from the eviction when BEDS delivered a check to their landlord for two 2 months late rent. She and her husband experienced hardships that rocked their housing stability. Joe was diagnosed with severe health issues, which caused them to lose his income. Gracie also grew ill and lost hours at work. They had health insurance but could not meet high deductibles and copays. BEDS provided assistance for their past due rent, utilities, and transportation to medical appointments. The couple has remained in their home; Gracie describes how, “your organization knows what to do.”