One family disaster can lead to loss of home, due to job loss, medical bills, rent increases, domestic violence, or other issues. The first step is to find temporary shelter and support to keep family members together. Then comes the more difficult step: moving from homelessness. That’s where Homeless to Renter (H2R), a Temple Beth Am partnership with Jewish Family Service (JFS), helps.
H2R has been helping families for nearly 18 years and continues to meet the challenges of family homelessness thanks to support from TBA members. Since 2004, H2R has helped over 450 families with more than 550 adults and over 1000 children secure or maintain safe housing. H2R has helped 75 of these families in the 18 months from July 2019 through the end of 2020, alone. H2R is focusing on helping families with eviction prevention efforts during COVID. Families who are currently housed but facing eviction either now or down the line due to temporary causes such as illness or injury are also now also eligible for one-time rent assistance through the H2R Program.
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Homeless 2 Renter in the Temple Beth Am Community
Homeless 2 Renter has collaborated with Youth Learning Program to run age-appropriate programming about homelessness in The Gan, encouraged b’nai mitzvah students to incorporate H2R in their service learning projects and hosted fundraisers including a recent comedy night with comedians Adam Ray and Joel McHale!
COVID-19’s Effect on Homeless 2 Renter’s Assistance
In December 2019, before the COVID-19 outbreak, Temple Beth Am’s Board of Directors authorized H2R and JFS to provide even more eviction prevention assistance, both to existing H2R families and new families who did not need move-in assistance, just eviction prevention. This enables JFS to respond to requests for eviction prevention assistance due to COVID-19. They then authorized an increase in maximum grants to families, from $1200 to $1500. In September 2021, H2R again increased the grant allowance to $2000, at the request of JFS.
How do families find out about Homeless 2 Renter?
The 211 “hotline” and agency case managers refer families to JFS, which assists families who are ready to rent. Families locate an apartment they can afford, and H2R helps with deposits and move-in costs. Through the years, the Knitzvah Knitters and LDS Church friends have helped with personal items, such as hand-made afghans, quilts, scarves, and hats.
Jasmine’s is one of many Homeless 2 Renter success stories. A single mother who could only work part-time after a ruptured aneurysm required brain surgery, Jasmine had Section 8 housing assistance but needed help with the deposit and fees. Listen to her story in her words.
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