Since 1996, House of Refuge has been helping homeless families find transitional housing and the resources to secure permanent housing.
The organization acquired 88 homes, a chapel and an office building in southeast Mesa, where Williams Air Force Base was previously located. Furnished accommodation is provided as well as clothing, food, employment and education services.
Eligible applicants must have at least one minor child who is fleeing domestic violence, is at risk of becoming homeless, or is female in her third trimester of pregnancy. Families eligible for services must sign a lease and agree to pay $ 400 per month, which includes utilities.
However, lately the lack of affordable housing has been a challenge. Families can achieve all of their goals during the program, but the shortage of affordable housing is hampering their progress. Many families move in with loved ones to continue to meet their financial savings goals.
“By living in House of Refuge, a family can increase their income, improve their credit rating, pay off debts and improve their education, but if the monthly rent payments on their rental after living in House of Refuge are more than $ 30. % of her income, it can push the family back into poverty, ”said Krista Cardona of House of Refuge.
In October, the House of Refuge received a grant of $ 4,700 A Community Thrives from the Gannett Foundation. Gannett Co., Inc., owns The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. Statewide, 16 nonprofits shared more than $ 333,000 in Community Thrives funds this year.
What is the mission of your organization? House of Refuge is a faith-based, non-profit organization that helps homeless families by providing them with transitional housing and support services that help residents become independent and secure permanent housing.
What basic needs and / or services does your organization provide?
House of Refuge provides comprehensive housing and social services to Arizona families experiencing homelessness. Education and work are invaluable. We ensure the stability of a family by providing them with housing, then we help them define and achieve goals that will facilitate their transition to sustainable housing within 12 months.
How many people are served?
Every day, we accommodate 250 people, 150 of whom are children living in our neighborhood of 88 houses.
How will you spend your Community Thrives grant? The Community Thrives grant will support our Adopt-a-Home program, which helps families stay in their homes for up to 12 months. Our Adopt-a-Home program not only helps provide a home for a family and the costs of maintenance and utilities, but also supports on-site closure services that help change the lives of families.
How do you rate your success? Heads of households work closely with their case manager to identify the root causes of homelessness in their lives. They work together to create goals that focus on jobs, income, financial education, parenting skills, budgeting and other issues that ease their transition to self-sufficiency.
Case managers and staff celebrate the achievement of these goals. We have a five-year success rate and an 85% transition of families from homelessness to housing.
What are the greatest needs of your organization?
We depend on the time and talent of volunteers to fulfill our mission. Our Helping Hands House donation center relies on the donation of lightly used clothing and household items and invites the public to donate their items. We also rely on the generosity of the community to finance our operations.
Can you share a personal story that represents and matches your organization’s mission?? One of our residents was living in her car after leaving an abusive relationship. Due to her situation, she was forced to leave her two young sons with their father.
She was offered a free membership to a local gym through her work. After sleeping in her car at night, she would take morning showers at the gym to dress for work.
When the pandemic hit, gyms were forced to close. Everyone in his office has been sent home to work remotely. However, she had no place to live or access to the Internet. Thanks to the services of the program, she obtained stable housing and Internet access. With the support of the staff, she was able to pay off her debt while saving for an apartment.
Later, she got a promotion and a raise at work and moved her family to permanent accommodation. Without the support of House of Refuge, she believes this wouldn’t have been possible for her.
Republic reporter Roxanne De La Rosa covers the Arizona nonprofit community. Contact her at [email protected]