Why do families become homeless?
Families may become homeless for any number of reasons. But, while every family’s story is unique, there are common experiences that push families into living in an emergency shelter, a tent, a trailer (with or without running water), in a car, or on the street. These include:
- Living in poverty and in an unstable housing situation
- Job loss or unemployment
- A family member becomes injured, ill, or dies
- Unexpected bills
- Change in public benefits
- Divorce or separation
- Domestic violence
- Mental and/or physical health challenges
- A lack of a healthy support network
Is there any good news?
Yes – the good news is that in many instances, family homelessness is “episodic” and not “chronic.” Some families only need short-term (typically three months to a year) assistance to regain stable housing. Some can even successfully maintain their housing going forward after receiving one-time assistance. It is encouraging to know that with the right intervention, families can move from homelessness to home and not become homeless again.
Two important tools for helping families experiencing homelessness
The more quickly a family’s homelessness is ended the better! The longer a family is homeless, the more traumatic, complex and dire their circumstances become. In addition, homelessness is expensive and it is much more cost-effective to help a family secure a home.
1. Rapid Re-housing
Rapid Re-housing is a form of housing assistance that includes short-term rental assistance and case management. Rapid Re-housing is offered through social service agencies in Clark County and accessed through the Council for the Homeless Housing Solutions Center. Click to read Rapid Re-housing successes from around the United States.
2. Housing Relief Fund
Some families can maintain their housing going forward after receiving coaching from Housing Solutions Center staff and one-time financial assistance (for rental application fees, deposits, and moving expenses) through the Housing Relief Fund. The Housing Relief Fund is a dedicated resource funded solely by private donations. It was launched in 2015 and is managed by Council for the Homeless. 100% of each contribution provides timely and targeted assistance to families (and individuals) who are homeless.
How you can help end family homelessness in Clark County
Please contact Charlene Welch by email or at 360-993-9564 with questions on any of the ideas below:
Donate funds to help us help others. See giving options at www.councilforthehomeless.org/donate. You can also work within your personal and professional circles to raise money toward this effort.
Advocate for policies that support the “opportunity for home” for children, seniors, hardworking families, veterans, and the disabled.
If you are part of a faith community, please see our Communities of Faith page for more ideas.