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What’s the solution to homelessness? Permanent housing!
Each & every client who moves into housing through Homeward Bound becomes a client of Pathways to Permanent Housing. Pathways to Permanent Housing provides financial assistance to move clients into apartments, and case management services to keep them there.
Pathways to Permanent Housing is funded with several grants, each of which has its own set of eligibility criteria. When a client approaches Pathways to Permanent Housing about getting into his or her own apartment, program staff ask some screening questions to determine which grant the client may be eligible for.
Some grants focus on preventing homelessness from occurring in the first place and can pay overdue rent & utilities to keep someone in housing & out of our community’s homeless service system. Others focus on rapid re-housing and seek to move in clients who are likely to be self-sustaining soon; these grants pay deposits & provide the short-term rental assistance the client needs in order to get through the crisis, stabilize, and become self-sufficient. Still others facilitate permanent supportive housing, recognizing that some of our neighbors who are disabled will need financial and relational support indefinitely.
Since Pathways to Permanent Housing began in 2006, we’ve housed 573 people. Not only is it a quick fix to homelessness, it’s also a permanent solution: 89% of the clients we’ve housed are still stable in their housing.
Ending homelessness with permanent housing is a cost-effective solution as well. According to a study by UNC’s Jordan Institute, a chronically homeless person can consume $23,000 in public resources in ONE year in Asheville, between emergency shelter, detox, jail stays, hospital visits, etc. But the average cost to end homelessness through Pathways to Permanent Housing is much lower: paying for housing costs plus case management services usually costs about $10,000 for a client’s first year in the program. As people stabilize in housing though, they start to need less support & they also start to generate income, which means they’re able to pick up more and more of their housing costs. Because of this, the average cost for housing & case management support for a client in Pathways to Permanent Housing is $3,200 per year.
Chronic Homeless Housing Project
In April 2010, Homeward Bound embarked on an exciting new journey in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville & Western Highlands LME: a project designed to target the people who’ve been homeless the longest & have the most challenges and to move them into permanent housing with case management support.
Chronic homelessness has a federal definition: people who are chronically homeless have experienced homelessness for at least one year or four times within a 3-year period, with a disabling condition. In any community, these people are the most difficult to serve, the most difficult to house, and the most difficult to keep housed.
But our community is a special one, and a collaborative one. Recognizing the value of case management support, the Housing Authority agreed to prioritize chronically homeless people on its waitlist, provided they have case management services from Homeward Bound for their first year in housing. Western Highlands came on board as a funding partner, believing in the positive impact of housing on clients with mental illnesses & substance abuse disorders. Under this partnership, clients wait 2-3 months for public housing, rather than a 12-18 month wait on the regular waitlist. And once housed, they stay in housing; so far, the Chronic Homeless Housing Project has a 92% housing retention rate!
In 2011, we received a federal grant from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration to target housing & support for people who are chronically homeless & have substance abuse disorders. That grant allowed us to create Project Rebound, which focuses on housing chronically homeless folks with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders or physical disabilities, and keeping them housed by offering case management & substance abuse counseling. Its staff includes a Housing Specialist, a Substance Abuse Counselor, & a Qualified Mental Health Professional & Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.
With housing supports paired with individual substance abuse counseling & group therapy, Project Rebound is out to end homelessness for a high-needs population & to prove that housing + support really is the key to ending homelessness for everyone in our community.
How can YOU support Pathways to Permanent Housing?
People who’ve been living on the streets no longer have furniture & furnishings to make an apartment a home. Sharing those items with your newly-housed neighbors through our Welcome Home Project helps ease the transition from homelessness to housing.
When case managers have discretionary funds to support people in housing, they’re able to provide bus passes, pay for medications, and buy things like toilet paper that food stamps won’t cover.
Finding affordable housing with landlords is one of our greatest challenges. Do you own rental property, or do you know someone who does? Help us find landlords willing to give our clients a chance at housing. We can pay fair market rate, and landlords can always call on case managers if they’re concerned about a tenant’s behavior. It’s a great deal for the landlord, and it helps us END homelessness in our community.
Want to learn more?
Contact Cindy Smith, Pathways to Permanent Housing Director, at (828) 258-1695 x255 or
Hearing that you’ve been exited from a program isn’t always a bad thing! When the Bolden family found out they were exiting Homeward Bound’s Pathways to Permanent Housing program, they knew they’d done everything right, found self-sufficiency, & outgrown their need for us. The Boldens moved here from Atlanta, seeking a better environment for their son Brandon. They came to Asheville because an uncle said they could stay with him until they got settled. As is the case with many people experiencing homelessness, that relationship wore thin, and soon after they arrived, he kicked them out. From there, they moved in briefly with the uncle’s daughter, but she lives in public housing, and having anyone who’s not on the lease staying there is a threat to her own housing stability.
Next they moved to The Griffin apartment building, because they’d heard the units there were affordable. Mrs. Bolden was—and is—working at Grove Park Inn, and Mr. Bolden was in a culinary program at A-B Tech. Because they were living on one income, they needed some help, so they came to Homeward Bound.
At Homeward Bound, their case manager Co-Kema worked with them to prevent them from becoming homeless! She was able to provide financial assistance and to develop a plan for Mrs. Bolden to continue working & Mr. Bolden to finish the culinary program and find a job. They were dedicated to being good parents to Brandon, supervising him closely & making sure he did well in school, and dedicated also to meeting the goals they’d set with Co-Kema. Mr. Bolden graduated from the culinary program & found full-time employment at Moe’s, and shortly after, someone heard about their hard work & donated a car to them so they’d have reliable transportation.
The Boldens were wonderful participants in Pathways to Permanent Housing, where they got the support they needed to get over a bump in the road & on with their lives. They’re now ineligible for funding through Pathways to Permanent Housing, because they make too much money! Both parents are doing well in their jobs, and Brandon is doing well in school. They’re a strong family, and because they reached out for help in a crisis, they’re now stable & no longer need to depend on anyone but themselves.