Transitional housing is best described as a home environment that is dedicated to helping people in their transition from homelessness back to an independent lifestyle. Transitional housing plays an essential role in fighting the cycle of homelessness here at home and nationwide.
Causes of Homelessness
Homelessness is caused by the combined effects of many factors: extreme poverty, the lack of affordable housing, decreasing government supports, domestic violence, mental and physical disabilities, substance abuse, and fractured social supports. As the gap between housing costs and income continues to widen, an increased number of people are at risk of becoming homeless.
Among the homeless are the unemployed, abused women, veterans and young adults. Lack of a high school diploma or GED, low proficiency in English, a history of incarceration, history of unstable employment – all contribute to the number of unemployed homeless individuals.
For families with a fragile safety net, even a minor event can lead to a family on the streets. The reasons vary, but the result is the same. They are all vulnerable and want very much to become independent and return to the mainstream of society. Transitional housing is a successful, cost-effective combination of affordable, temporary housing with services that helps people live more stable, productive lives.
Murray has two locations for transitional housing, Gentry House and OpportUNITY House (through the MCC Homeless Coalition). Residents generally live in transitional housing for a limited time – anywhere from two weeks to 6 months. In the last year, 23 families have been provided with transitional housing. That amounts to more than 70 people, many of whom are children, who would have nowhere to go if it weren’t for the help and acceptance they found through services provided by Gentry House and MCC Homeless Coalition. The transitional housing provided is close to bus routes and residents receive help in acquiring a bus pass to get to interviews, search for permanent housing, etc. The housing is combined with wrap-around services to assist residents with developing stability in their lives and transitioning to permanent affordable housing. There are defined goals that must be met and programs that support these goals. Residents are committed to preparing themselves for life outside. They learn to budget, work on life skills and begin the process of finding a suitable place to live.
Some of the transitional housing services provided are:
- Individual Supportive Coaching
- Independent living training sessions
- Job Training and Employment Programs
- Financial Management Classes
- On-site Computer Center
- Health and Wellness Programs
By being provided with safe, temporary housing, residents can focus on life-changing programs that teach the skills necessary to access and maintain permanent housing. Of the clients who moved out of transitional housing, 92% moved into permanent housing.
Transitional housing reduces the need to commit a crime to survive; prevents the spread of diseases by providing clean water and sanitary conditions; boosts employment skills; and increases a resident’s self-worth by restoring hope. It is a proven model that has yielded impressive results. Much of what Gentry House has to offer would not be made possible without the generosity of donors and benevolence of our volunteers. If you would like to contribute and be a part of the amazing things happening here at Gentry House, you can donate directly through our website or learn about volunteer opportunities on our volunteer page. As always, feel free to call for more information!