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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Snedden

How we Help: A Home’s Housing Program

People ask us how we find the people who need housing, the circumstances that have them experiencing homelessness, and our requirements for helping them move into a home.

Our applicants for housing come from a variety of sources, including:

  • Referrals from churches and other social service agencies. We currently work with approximately 10 different entities.

  • Our programs through which we provide cold weather shelter/assistance and other resources.

  • Our website. At this time, we are receiving on average three people a day needing housing.

The circumstances that create homelessness vary widely. Some of our applicants have been without housing for years (considered chronically homeless), while others have lost their housing more recently. The reasons for their homelessness include:

  • Disabilities that keep them from being able to hold a job

  • Low wages

  • Increasingly high rents

  • An acute emergency like an illness preventing them from working

  • Car breakdown, and no easy access to nearby mass transportation

  • The landlord sold the house they were renting

  • A family member lost a job

  • A parent/grandparent who was renting a home died or brought in a partner who didn’t want roommates

  • Safety concerns and issues with family members or roommates

  • Substance abuse

  • Domestic violence

Many of our clients have a disability and, despite how difficult it can be, have managed to apply and receive a monthly Supplemental Social Security of approximately $914.

This is often not enough to afford an apartment, or even a room in a rooming house.

Hotels cost $100 a day or $500 a week. Some of our applicants couch surf with family and friends or move in with others, but this can be a tenuous arrangement. Many are “rough sleeping.”

Our requirements to be able to help people with the start-up costs for rental units, like first month’s rent and deposit, are the following:

  • They need to answer a list of questions that help us ascertain their situation and whether clients will be able to pay their monthly bills after we help with an eviction expense or first month start-up fees

  • Provide paystubs or proof of income

  • Provide a Welcome Letter from the apartment saying they have been accepted

  • Attend a one hour interview with two volunteers

  • Prepare a budget listing all their income and expenses

While A Home has purchased a house, it is only for 3 people to share, which doesn’t help the thousands of unhoused folks in DeKalb County.

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