At Friendship Place, we know there is a proven solution to homelessness: a place to live. That’s why we have several different programs to help people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness find and keep stable housing. Thanks to our work in the past year alone, more than 800 people will sleep tonight in warm beds in their own homes instead of in shelters or on park benches.
Our permanent supportive housing (PSH) programs are designed to empower people with serious mental health challenges, addictions, physical illnesses and/or disabilities to transition into housing and rebuild their lives. By the time we connect with them, many have been living on the streets for years.
Neighbors First is based on the state-of-the-art “Housing First” model of homeless services, which removes all barriers to housing, such as sobriety requirements. Housing First says, “We welcome you as you are.” Case management in our PSH favors flexibility over rules. It is person-centered, nonjudgmental and non-coercive. The participants themselves drive the process. The case managers are there to help them achieve their own individual goals, such as recovery, health, financial stability, education, reconnection with family or employment. This approach is extraordinarily effective. Year after year, our PSH achieves housing stability rates of better than 98 percent.
Many of the individuals and families who turn to Friendship Place for help don’t need the long-term support that PSH provides. They may have found themselves suddenly unable to pay the rent because of unforeseen life challenges – a layoff, a health crisis, a family crisis, domestic violence, and so on – or they may be newly released from incarceration. With just temporary assistance, they can get back on their feet. For people in this situation, Friendship Place offers homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing services through a variety of avenues:
These programs help participants find private-market housing they can afford, sign a lease and move in, while helping them stabilize their finances, making sure they have sufficient income – employment, SSI, SSDI, Social Security, retirement plan, family support, Veterans Benefits, etc. – to pay rent on an ongoing basis. Depending on the particular program and the needs of the participant, we can also provide temporary rental assistance to help the individual or family over the hurdle of the up-front costs of signing a lease.