I have received comments in response to some of my posts from families in fear of losing their homes or are already homeless, living with relatives. I can only imagine the anxiety and fear they must be feeling. Unless we’ve walked in the shoes of homeless people, we can’t possibly know the extent of these emotions caused by their hardship and displacement.
There are prevention and emergency assistance programs available for homeless people. The following National Coalition for the Homeless published the following Fact Sheet (#20) giving advice to people who are homeless or about to become homeless. Because this information is very important, I have posted it in part below. Please visit their website for more information.
NCH Fact Sheet #20
Published by the National Coalition for the Homeless, May 2009
Prevention or emergency assistance programs
If you are not homeless yet:
- find out about prevention or emergency assistance programs in your area. Often these programs can help in paying rent, utilities, or bills.
- reading the section called Directories can help you find those programs.
In addition, Russell Sjoblom, who was recently homeless with his family, has compiled a list of suggestions for people who are in danger of becoming homeless. Russell offers advice on money, food, transportation, shelter, storage, help paying for medications, social security and disability.
If you are homeless:
- emergency assistance programs may help with temporary shelter, or security deposits and/or first month’s rent.
Sometimes prevention and/or emergency assistance programs are operated by the state, county, or local division of housing assistance, or by the division of social/human services.
- Try looking in the government listings in your phone book for these agencies.
- Churches and non-profit organizations also offer emergency help.
- Sometimes these organizations are listed under “crisis services” in the yellow pages of the phone book.
- In rural areas, prevention and/or emergency assistance programs may be operated by community action agencies (see the National Community Action Partnership web site).
Other places to look for names and numbers of programs that may help are:
- NCH’s Online Directory of Local Homeless Service Organizations – This directory does not list every homeless and housing program in the country — unfortunately, there is no such list.
- If you are in a rural area, you may be more likely to find help from a community action agency. – The National Community Action Partnership web site provides a partial list of community action agencies across the country.
- If you don’t see anything listed near you, check out the Directory of Statewide and Local Advocacy Coalitions described below. It may also be helpful to simply contact the nearest agency you can find and ask them directly if there are any service providers in the area that are closest to you.
- NCH’s Online Directory of Statewide and Local Advocacy Coalitions - This directory lists homeless and housing coalitions that are involved in advocacy.
- These coalitions vary greatly in the kind of advice and resources they can provide — not all coalitions provide direct services, but many are excellent sources of information and referrals to programs near you.
- Homeless Outreach Information Center – This is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s database of homeless assistance providers.
- Health Care for the Homeless Information Resource Center – If you are homeless and have health care needs, there may be a Health Care for the Homeless program near you that can help.
- Health Care for the Homeless programs also provide referrals for other services such as housing, so it may be useful to contact the program nearest you to see what services are available.
- A listing of Health Care for the Homeless programs is available from the Health Care for the Homeless Information Resource Center.
- If You Don’t Find A Listing Near You – If none of these directories contain information about agencies near you, please send them an email at [email protected] with the name of your city and state, and any information you think may be useful (whether you have children, when you might become homeless, etc.).
- Please understand that they are a very small office, and that the most they may be able to do is to refer you to an organization or a person near you. But they will do our very best to find a source of assistance in your area.