People become homeless for a variety of reasons. Life may create an untimely circumstance like a job loss, marriage dissolution, or unforeseen medical expenses. Homelessness can happen as a result of addiction or mental health disease. No matter what the reason for homelessness, the Center for Community Resources (CCR) is here to help.
HOPE is a permanent supportive housing program providing housing to individuals that are suffering from a severe mental health or physical health disability, and have a history of chronic homelessness. The program currently serves 18 individuals by providing a one bedroom apartment they can call their own.
The program also provides intensive case management, life skills training, and peer support services. “The peer piece of the program is really great,” said Beth Gillan, Senior Director of Programs at CCR. “Two out of three HOPE staff members have experienced homelessness. They understand client situations and can be empathetic.”
Monthly inspections are conducted and clients are required to follow rules, i.e. no drugs or alcohol on the premises, and no other people can be there. “They are required to pay 30 percent of their monthly income as an occupancy fee,” said Gillan. “We then set aside 30 percent of their payment into a savings account to help with housing expenses when they are ready to move on.”
All housing programs in the state belong to the Pennsylvania Continuums of Care (CoC). The concept of CoCs seeks to address all aspects of homelessness and incorporates the various needs of those experiencing homelessness; whether they be families or individuals, youth or seniors, those experiencing homelessness for the first-time, or those with a history of homelessness.
CCR’s HOPE program has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in the western part of the Pa. CoC.
CCR also has interim housing to help homeless individuals with emergency needs. CCR acquired the North Street location in July 2017 to aid those in a short-term homeless situation. “There are no criteria for individuals to access the interim housing,” Gillan said. “If it’s an unsafe situation, they can stay but would need to get cleared first.”
The interim housing has eight beds, a couple cots, and couches to provide respite. An individual can stay for up to 30 days. “Our staff helps individuals get connected to other resources in the community,” said Gillan.
There is a waiting list, but it moves quickly. “Some people stay a night or two waiting to get into a rehabilitation program or detox,” said Gillan. “Our staff does crisis oversight, and they are checking in on people every half hour.”
The housing is designed to be a home away from home. “Clients are expected to do chores like clean the bathroom, sweep the floors, and do dishes. They can also cook their own meals if they’d like,” said Gillan. “We do keep emergency food on hand in case someone comes in and hasn’t eaten in a while.”
The interim housing is always in need of various donations like: towels, washcloths, sweatpants (all adult sizes), socks, hygiene products (feminine products, shampoo, razors, soap, and deodorant), laundry detergent, and snacks (granola bars, canned soup). If you have any questions, call 1.800.292.3866 and ask for Rich or Katie.
The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program is a collaborative effort of six regional counties to provide assistance to our nation’s veterans and their family members.
This community-based program works to assist homeless veteran families and to prevent homelessness for those at imminent risk due to a housing crisis. CCR provides a Housing Advisor to provide case management supports for veterans who are referred through the program.
The SSVF program focuses on helping individuals and families access and sustain permanent rental housing, increasing income through employment and benefits, and addressing those issues that can interfere with a veteran’s housing stability.
Peer support is also provided. “We have several staff members that are veterans and have been homeless,” Gillan said. “This helps to get people focusing on options and work with them on level of better understanding.”
Whatever the reason for homelessness may be, CCR can connect you with a program that fits your needs.