The mission of CityHeart is to meet urgent needs and enable long term solutions.We are a small organization in comparison to larger nonprofits, agencies, and programs in Dayton serving a similar clientele. We are pleased that some of these organizations are receiving large grants and special funding to serve vulnerable populations. They are placing community outreach workers and case managers in the most logical places to be accessible to individuals and families in need, such as schools and community centers. Since CityHeart helps to fill the gaps, we see this as a win-win for everyone!
In our experience, “it takes a village” to resolve the complex situations experienced by many of our clients. CityHeart often receives inquiries and direct requests from representatives of these larger organizations on behalf of those families. Oftentimes, the case managers are new to their work, and benefit from the combined knowledge and experience of CityHeart staff and volunteers. We consider each situation, the available resources and give pertinent referrals.
Today’s mission moment is such an example, when we were contacted by a representative from Dayton Children’s Hospital who is placed in the Dayton Public Schools. She was referred to CityHeart by another organization and felt as if they were passing her along without any offer of assistance because the family was over their threshold of qualification.
The case manager called us in reference to this homeless family. She did not disclose the family name, but told us their story. They had been in a stable rental property for 7-8 years. The landlord was not making necessary repairs and in November there was no source of heat in the home. This family ended up being evicted. We assume they quit paying rent because the landlord was not keeping up on maintenance and repairs. First, they went to a hotel, and then they got into a short-term Airbnb rental. They need to be out by the end of the month and they need permanent housing for a family of five. The case manager says they just need a place and they got some money. Both adults in the household are working, good for them!
We explained the most common type of housing requests received by CityHeart are people who actually need funds for back rent or late rent and are about to be evicted. We don’t have any direct connection to actual housing units. We explained that depending on income, they might qualify for subsidized housing through Greater Dayton Premier Management’s Section 8 Program, but there is a wait list and then they will need to find a landlord who will accept the voucher. Certainly, this an option, but not realistic for the stated timeframe.
We recommended that she try to help them find something suitable on their own, if possible, since they do have some money. We also gave referrals for a couple organizations who manage and develop rental properties in the city. CityHeart believes this family will be ok and told the case manager to call us back if they need additional funds once they have located a rental unit. Under normal circumstances CityHeart’s financial assistance policy is to prevent eviction, but for homeless families, we might be able to offer some help on a case by case basis working with our collaborative partners.
Most importantly, we provided the case manager with critical information on potential resources to help prevent evictions. The Dayton Mediation Center works to resolve tenant-landlord issues and the Rent Escrow program of the City of Dayton, is a program where tenants can pay their rent until the property meets building code, avoiding eviction for non-payment of rent.
The case manager was very appreciative of the time and effort CityHeart took to make sure that she can help this one family and is much better prepared to give advice to the next family before they end up homeless.
This story is great example of CityHeart’s mission to meet urgent needs and enable long-term solutions!