Last summer, Friendship Shelter reached out to you with a big, audacious request.
Unprecedented resources were coming to some of the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness in South Orange County, and we wanted to be ready to help them seize the opportunity.
Across the nation and here in South Orange County, the federal government was issuing emergency housing vouchers to address homelessness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These vouchers are the “golden ticket” that pays housing costs, permanently ending the homelessness of individuals fortunate enough to receive one. We anticipated matching 100 or more individuals in South Orange County to a voucher.
But that match is just the beginning.
It begins a frenetic period of completing eligibility paperwork, finding an affordable apartment, completing the leasing process and finally moving into the unit. Any of us who have moved knows how complicated that process is in the best circumstances. To help ensure our clients could successfully use their vouchers, our staff took responsibility of sourcing housing units, managing landlord engagement, supporting housing navigation services which includes the up-front costs of paying security deposits and rental assistance, and providing the wrap-around supportive services once the client is housed.
In short, our job – in this case and always – was to provide expert assistance to move people out of homelessness, into homes, and keep them there.
We calculated our cost to do that work would be $700,000, or $7,000 per client housed. And we asked you to help by contributing what you could to help us reach that goal.
We asked, and you responded. Yesterday, we announced that we surpassed our goal and raised over $700,000!
Today we celebrate the culmination of the fundraising part of this project but not the work itself.
Finding apartment units has been more challenging than we imagined, especially in Orange County. In response, the federal government has extended the deadline to use vouchers until December 31. Our team has successfully housed 55 individuals and is working with more than 50 others to find an apartment.
Please join us in celebrating this important milestone! We could not have done it without you!