This afternoon I was walking through the office and Samie (one of our case managers) made eye contact while she was on the phone with someone. She pointed at me and the phone and asked if I could help out. When she handed me the phone she said the person was asking for her supervisor.
When I answered the woman explained that she had been waiting for housing for weeks and had finally been referred to us by Access Point. As she was being interviewed by Samie to determine she was able to move in, Samie had asked her where she stayed last night (this is a standard question we have to ask). When she replied that she stayed in a acquaintances home because it was cold and she and three of her four kids are sick. Unfortunately Samie had told her (appropriately) that due to our HUD funding requirements she was not homeless last night because she had stayed in a home no matter how many times she had slept in her car in the last few weeks.
The woman had argued and asked to speak to me. Unfortunately I had to agree with Samie and tell this poor frantic mother that in order for us to maintain our housing compliance for her and other future families we have to honor the rules of HUD and that we are stringently audited on this exact point. The poor mom was hysterical and sobbing for a long time. I listened until she calmed down and assisted transferring her to Access Point to start over and coached her on how to move quickly through the system again.
Unfortunately our hands are tied due to the lack of flexible funding to do more for this family. That is part of why our Ask event, One Night In A Car, and other flexible fundraising options are so important for supplementing our funding to allow us to move away from federal bureaucracy in housing.
Please consider helping us to support families like this one with an online gift (click here)…and thank you!