Our Approach: Compassion + Personal Responsibility
We exist to give a compassionate hand up. However, our approach requires you to accept most of the responsibility for getting off the streets. You must be motivated. You must be willing to go through an in-depth financial review. You must find your own rental. You must have monthly income to pay rent on an ongoing basis. We will encourage and guide you but you will do most of the work.
These are the key areas that explain how we work, what is expected of you, and your next steps:
Motivation: Are you motivated to get off the streets and into permanent housing? Our approach requires a lot of personal responsibility on your part. We will guide, but you will do most of the work. We also want you to know that you will not receive any money from us. If we do place you we will pay the security deposit directly to the landlord.
Income: Do you have a recurring source of income (job, disability, public assistance, etc.) that would allow you to pay monthly rent if we help you with the initial security deposit? We will not pay your security deposit unless we are convinced you have the ability to pay future month’s rent. To do otherwise would be an irresponsible use of the money our donors entrust to us and it would not help you remain housed over the long run.
Budgeting: Are you willing to work with us to create a budget that will keep your monthly rent below 50% of your total income? If you find a rental at or below this budgeted amount, we help with the security deposit to allow you to move in. This budgeted rent amount will provide a very good foundation for you to stay housed for the long term.
House Hunting: Are you willing to search for your own rented room or apartment on Craigslist, bulletin boards, rental signs, and on the internet within that budgeted amount? This is where you will have to do a fair amount of work finding a rental that fits the budget we built with you. Some of the people we help are able to find appropriately priced rentals within days and others have taken several months to find the right place. Perseverance in this area is key to you getting off the streets and into permanent housing.
Who We Help
There are many forms of homelessness.
And it’s not just the homeless you see on the street. There are also the “hidden homeless” who are in shelters, hotels, or their vehicles.
Some are homeless due to mental illness or addictions, and these individuals require many services and an entire community of providers to get off the street – it is a very complex problem with no simple solutions. Others are actually homeless by choice because they enjoy the lifestyle and they have no desire to get off the streets or they simply don’t have the recurring income to afford monthly rent.
However, there is another category of homeless that Off The Streets focuses on. These are the “Economically Homeless” who have suffered some sort of crisis (medical, financial, abuse, unforeseen evictions, etc.) and these are the individuals that we strive to help. They have income, just not enough to get out of their homeless situation. They are very motivated to get off the streets but they need a one-time hand up to do so. That’s where we come in.
First we build a budget with them to determine a monthly rent they can afford over the long term. After they find a rental that fits this budget, we help them get housed with the Security Deposit which we pay directly to the Landlord.