Home 2 Remain

H2R is Changing – from Homeless 2 Renter to Home 2 Remain… and More!

Many a family disaster can lead to the loss of a home due to job loss, medical bills, rent increases, or other issues. Since 2004, Temple Beth Am has been helping families avoid homelessness. Initially, our Homeless 2 Renter Program provided move-in assistance to cover deposits and other “up-front” costs for homeless families moving into permanent rental housing. Starting in 2015, at the request of our collaborator in service, Jewish Family Services, we began to provide eviction prevention assistance aimed at keeping families in their homes.

With changes in governmental programs and funding to assist those without shelter, we have increasingly moved in the direction of preventing family homelessness through eviction prevention assistance. We have an ongoing agreement to this end with Jewish Family Services (JFS), which serves the non-Jewish community, as well as the Jewish community.

Since 2015, and particularly since the pandemic, there has been an extreme rise in housing costs in the region. In line with JFS, we are increasingly helping families maintain housing in the face of adversity. And so, H2R is now becoming Home 2 Remain.

H2R has helped over 500 families since 2004, including more than 600 adults and more than 1100 children to secure or maintain safe housing. In 2023, we assisted 65 individuals among 19 families. One of those families had move-in support, while 18 families received eviction prevention assistance to enable them to remain in their homes.

A high rate of 85% of program funds is used for actual assistance to families with just 15% to help cover JFS staff and administrative costs. Temple Beth Am takes no administrative expense.

Reimagining Responses from the Temple Beth Am Community to Housing Issues

As we consider the mitzvot to engage in acts of loving kindness and mutual support, we need to study anew the meaning of our traditions and teachings, of shelter and family, of personal and community responsibility. As we inspire our children to ask questions at Passover, we too should ask what is happening in our community that leads to loss of shelter and what can we do about that. Is it service? Is it advocacy?

One recent initiative started in the spring of 2024 has been to begin to help Sound Foundations NW, which builds “Tiny Homes” that the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and others use to build Tiny Home villages.  Those homes and communities provide a bridge for people moving from the streets, to shelter and stability and on to education, work and permanent housing.

How Should We Respond?

Maimonides taught, “Anticipate charity by preventing poverty. . . This is the highest step and summit of charity’s golden ladder.” How might our community engage in sacred efforts to reach that step? We invite your participation to help educate our community and guide H2R’s future.

Please join us in the search for the best ways to involve our Temple Beth Am community in identifying and developing effective tools to relieve the pain of family homelessness. We look forward to your suggestions and participation in doing this. Want to get involved? Contact Sue Covey  or Fred Diamondstone.