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. Texas, California and Florida have the highest numbers of unaccompanied homeless youth under the age of 18. 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. Although the unemployment rate is decreasing and the stock market has surpassed its pre-recession high, the economic gains have not reached many poor urban residents.
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.
At Martha’s Village and Kitchen, residents generally live in transitional housing for a limited time – anywhere from two weeks to two years. Martha’s provides 120 nightly beds for families and individuals. Most recently in the month of September alone, Martha’s housed 32 single adults and 30 families (37 adults and 61 children). That amounts to 130 people (47% of which are children) who would have nowhere to go if it weren’t for the help and acceptance they found here at Martha’s. 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 at Martha’s 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 at Martha’s are:
- Individual/family case management
- Life coaching
- Independent living training sessions
- Job training and employment programs
- Financial management classes
- On-site computer center
- Health and wellness programs
- Mentoring and coaching
Last year, 383 residents found safety and comfort in the transitional housing provided at Martha’s. In addition, our kitchen served approximately 270,000 meals to residents as well as non-residents in need of a nutritional meal. Once the basic needs like food and shelter are met, residents are able to focus on our 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, here in California and throughout the nation. Much of what Martha’s 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 Martha’s, you can follow this link to donate or learn about volunteer opportunities on our volunteer page. As always, feel free to call or stop by for a tour and more information!
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