Transition In Place provides homeless families with housing and services for up to two years in single-family homes and apartments in throughout eastern Pierce County. Longer participation enables families to not only stabilize, but to build the critical skills, training, and experiences that will enable them to make lasting changes in their lives so that they (and their children) never become homeless again.
The family’s relationship with their case manager is pivotal to success and a tremendous resource as they build new skills and approaches to challenges and barriers. Adults are offered classes geared towards life-skills needed to maintain housing and escape poverty. Topics include parenting, nutrition, financial literacy, car repair, landlord-tenant issues, family safety, and many others. Many families report that they learn skills they never knew about before or that they didn’t have time to focus on or practice.
Case managers encourage the parents to address their financial situation by pursuing job training and other educational opportunities which will enable them to earn a living wage (many for the first time) and eventually be able to afford their own housing and support their household. Families pay 30% of their adjusted gross income for rent. The housing lease is in the client family’s name, and they can remain in that housing as an additional tool to maintain stability after the family exits the program.
Case managers work closely with the children as well, and encourage them to be active in their schools. The kids have opportunities to participate in before and after school activities, summer camps, and tutoring. These activities have an enormously stabilizing effect and can begin to heal the emotional trauma of being homeless. By atttending school regularly and receiving tutoring, the children have a chance to close the academic achievement gap that is so common with homeless children. The progress they make allows them to feel good about being in school and then they want to be involved in the community and can begin to experience healthy social lives.
Helping Hand House also provides assistance for additional needs such as work clothes, school clothes, school supplies, transportation, child care, and medical and mental health care. Families who graduate from our Transitional In Place program become active, accomplished, and productive community members. Many seek ways to help others through sharing the information they have gained working through some of their challenges. We remain available to advise and celebrate with families long after they have settled into their independent lives. For many, their time at Helping Hand House becomes a turning point they never forget.