Sunday, August 28, 2011

CitySquare's Summer of Success

I tell people that the wonderful thing about the work we do at CitySquare is that every now and then, you get to see the results of your work.

This has been a tough three weeks. Most of it involved staffing challenges and making 'bricks without straw' running some programs with little or no money, or too few personnel. And then we get encouraging reports about the work we've accomplished!

For instance, the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing program that we have administered for the past two years with funds from the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (you know, the stimulus funds which some politicians are calling a failure), has had an incredible impact.
  • Of the 269 families (representing 587 neighbors) at risk of losing their housing, 253 or 94%, were stably housed when they left the program.  
  • Of these 253 families, 13% (34) are now living with friends or family, 85% (214) are now living in rental units, and 2%(4)  are now property owners.
Wait, there's more...
  • When the program began, 97 (36%) of the families had no income whatsoever; at the end of the program, only 10% had no income at all;
  • At the beginning of the program 77 (29%) actually had earned income; at the end of the program 140 (52% had earned income.
  • At the beginning of the program, 95 (35%) had no earned income either a public benefit, child support or retirement. When the program concluded that number increased to 38% (or 102).
According to the report from our team:

Case management in this program has helped people find jobs and apply for benefits they are eligible  for.  This has helped significantly reduce the number of people who have no earned income and nearly double the number of people who have an earned income."

"Of the 97 families that had no income whatsoever when they first came to the program, Social Work Services has helped 18 (19%) of these families gain some income through applying for benefits they were eligible for, and helped 56 (57%) gain employment and start receiving an earned income."  

"Of these same 97 families, 87 are now stably housed with 61 of them paying rent and two of them owning property and 23 of them living with family and/or friends."

"The impact of this program on a neighbor’s impact could be higher.  What is here only reflects the number of neighbors that have shown proof of earned income (a paycheck stub) when they were discharged.  Our caseworkers attest that some of our neighbors had actually gotten employment but did not have a paycheck stub at the time of their discharge so by HUD requirements, were not able to indicate this at the time of discharge.  So conceivably, we have helped more people get jobs than what is represented here."

The HPRP funding was designed to help those who have been most impacted by the recession: those who are already poor, or who had lost jobs and who were having trouble paying rent or utilities. The $500,000 invested to help not only helped these neighbors 'get by', it helped many of them stabilize and achieve some level of recovery. 

I'll tell you more about CitySquare's 'Summer of Success' in the next post...

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