This FAQ is written for people in need of housing assistance and those who are currently being helped through the Housing Solutions Center.
Where are you located?We have two offices.
- The Council for the Homeless Housing Solutions Center (where we work with clients) is located at 2306 NE Andresen, Suite A, Vancouver, WA 98661.
- The Council for the Homeless administrative office is located at 2500 Main Street, Vancouver, WA 98660. This is also the mailing address for our organization.
It seems like a lot of agencies work on homelessness. Do you work with them?Yes, we work with other agencies because we are the one-stop access point for over 40 housing programs offered by our partner agencies. Our partner agencies are Share, Community Services Northwest, Janus Youth, Impact NW, Second Step Housing, and The Salvation Army.
This means, we assess your situation, determine which type of housing help gives you the best chance of success, determine your eligibility, and, when there is an opening in your “best fit” program, we place you in that program operated by one of the partner agencies.
Who do you help?We help people who are literally homeless (living in a car, on the street, or in an emergency shelter) and those who are losing their housing in the near future. Unfortunately, there are not enough resources in the community to meet the demand, so there are many people who call us that we are not able to serve.
What services do you offer at the Housing Solutions Center?At the Housing Solutions Center we
- operate the Housing Hotline (the one phone number people call for housing help including emergency shelter)
- determine client eligibility for over 40 housing assistance programs (including emergency shelter) operated by partner agencies
- conduct assessments to determine the type of housing assistance that will give an individual or family the best chance of success
- help our clients who have barriers to renting find rental housing
- help our clients with basic needs (such as accessing food, transportation, and public benefits) by connecting to community resources through our Navigation program.
Do you run the emergency shelters?No, but as a placement agency we work closely with the organizations that run the shelters. Our role is to match people in need of emergency shelter with openings in the shelters. Once someone is in a shelter, they work directly with the shelter staff to manage their stay at the shelter and address any questions or concerns.
Can people bring pets into emergency shelters?The use of a service animal in a shelter or rental housing is a legally protected right. Service animals are not considered to be a “pet.” Pets (e.g. the family dog or cat) are not allowed in shelters. Pets in rental housing are subject to the rules established by private landlords.
Do you own apartment complexes that low income people can rent from?No, we do not own apartment complexes, but we do encourage private landlords to rent to people who have challenges to renting such as previous evictions or bad credit. Our staff and volunteers work with our clients to help them find landlords and living situations that are a good fit for all involved.
Do you help with rent?There are a few programs operated by our partner agencies that help people who are behind in their rent and/or need help paying their rent going forward or are doubled up and can no longer stay. Resources for this type of assistance are extremely limited. People in need of rental assistance should call the Housing Hotline 360-695-9677.
How do people access your services?People access our services by calling the Housing Hotline at 360-695-9677.
- The Housing Hotline is open Monday thru Friday 9am-5pm and weekends from 11am-2pm.
- On Federal holidays the Housing Hotline is open 11am-2pm.
- We do not take “walk-ins.” Clients must call the Housing Hotline.
What happens when someone calls the Housing Hotline?An intake specialist will assist the caller and screen them for services.
- If the person needs resources and information available through other organizations in the community, the caller will be referred to “211 info” or other local agency.
- If the person is in need of emergency shelter and space is available, they will be placed into one of the local shelters.
- If the person is in need of help to obtain stable housing, they will have the opportunity to speak with an assessment specialist who will screen them to see if an in-person housing assessment is needed. If so, the caller will be asked to come to the Housing Solutions Center within five business days for an assessment to determine their best-fit housing assistance program.
I talked with someone on the Housing Hotline and have a question or have more information to provide. What phone number do I call?Call the Housing Hotline at 360-695-9677.
I had an assessment at the Housing Solutions Center. What phone number do I call to update my information or ask about my status?Call the Housing Solutions Center front desk at 360-699-5106, Option 2. If you know the name of your Assessment Specialist, you can leave a message at their extension. You can use the “dial by name directory” to find the extension if you don’t already know it.
Where am I at on the waiting list?When you were assessed for the housing assistance programs operated by our partner agencies, you were put on the waiting list(s) for the program(s) for which you were determined eligible. When an opening comes up and you are next on the list, we will contact you and place you into the program, as long as you are still eligible. As a placement agency, we do not know how long it will take for an opening to become available.
Not everyone on each list is eligible for the same programs, so there is not a way to tell you what number you are on the list(s). We ask that you keep in contact with us (every month is fine) and update us on your current situation. That will help us get you placed into the appropriate program when an opening is available.
I was placed in a housing program but I can’t find a place to rent. What do I do?First, call the agency you were placed with and find out if they are still willing to work with you. It’s best to stay in touch with the agency throughout your housing search process to keep them updated on your situation.
If the housing agency is no longer able to work with you, you can all the Housing Hotline (360-695-9677) to get screened for a re-assessment. You must be re-screened to determine if you are still eligible for an assessment. If you complete a re-assessment, you will go through the same process you completed when you went through the Housing Solutions Center the first time. You will be placed on the waiting list(s) for the housing program(s) you qualify for.