Alpha Omega Homeless Services
Housing takes the largest proportion of a wage-earner's income. Loss of a job or even a cut-back on hours can be devastating to an individual or family that is living paycheck to paycheck. Even with the job the potential of any unexpected expense — a car repair, a medical bill, or school supplies — can often send a family into economic crisis with a threat to their home and the stability that comes with it.
Homelessness does not just affect the drug-user or mentally impaired. People can become homeless even with a job. During this economic downturn we have been seeing more and more people with jobs that don't pay enough to pay the rent. These people end up sleeping on their friends' couches for as long as they can; then they live in their car and when all options run out, they live on the street, sleeping in bus shelters or under freeway overpasses.
Now with no permanent address it becomes even more difficult to find a job and get back on their feet. CSA homeless case managers assist these people with information to locate and secure affordable housing; information and assistance with public transportation; and assistance with benefits and health services. Financial assistance is available for one month's rent once they secure employment and a place to live that fits within their budget. Food is also available for them through our Food & Nutrition Center.
Housing is ultimately dependent on income and the stability of that income and only when a degree of stability is assured are the homeless able to move ahead with self-reliance and dignity.
S. P. is a client who had received case management services through our Alpha-Omerga Homeless Services Program His story shows how a sometimes just a little help can have an awfully big impact.
|S.P. came to the US from Nepal on a green card to work and study. He was initially able to stay with a friend as he got settled but unable to find immediate employment and affordable housing in the economic downturn he soon found himself on the streets with no place to go.
The only place he could find to sleep at night was a bus stop and he stayed there night after night until a passing Good Samaritan found him. Listening to his story, the Samaritan connected him with someone he knew from Nepal and this contact led S.P. to CSA.
CSA’s homeless case manager was able to connect S.P. with food immediately from the CSA Food & Nutrition Center in addition to securing emergency shelter, CalFresh (food stamps) benefits and public transportation passes so he could begin looking for work. Within a week S.P. had secured a seasonal holiday job for minimum wage — the pressure began to lessen.
S.P. knew he needed stable employment to be self-sufficient and it took him a couple months to find a full-time job. During this time the CSA homeless case manager directed him to subsidized housing waitlists and helped him budget to save money for a security deposit. He signed onto over 30 waitlists for housing opportunities.
Within two months he was accepted for a subsidized housing studio near his place of work. By then he had saved enough for the security deposit and CSA was able to provide one month's rental assistance. S.P. is still employed, housed and self-sufficient looking forward to his first classes in a local community college.
For more information regarding our Alpha Omega program, contact our Alpha Omega Service Coordinator.