2021 Annual Report: Meeting the Need

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Housing Resources

Every day, consumers come to FREED because of the lack of affordable, accessible housing in our community. Many seniors and people with disabilities find that they cannot keep pace with the rapidly rising costs of housing and the shrinking availability of units.

Housing Services have always been one of our Core Services, and in 2021, we built upon the success of our Housing Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP) to reach more consumers and collaborate more closely with community partners.

A white man with a goatee wearing a purple shirt sits in a wheelchair at a round wooden table. He is looking over his shoulder at the camera and smiling. The background seems to be a kitchen.
FREED Consumer, Ken, in his new apartment on the day of his move in.

HDAP provides both Housing Coordination and Benefits Counseling services for consumers who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Benefits Counselors are trained to assist homeless consumers to apply for Social Security benefits, and Housing Coordinators, along with Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) Navigators and Independent Living Specialists, provide support for housing search, applications, and advocacy for consumers looking to improve their living situations.

In July of 2021, the Regional Housing Authority (RHA) began accepting new applications for housing subsidies (Section 8); however, we learned that the window to apply would only be open for two weeks. FREED staff members conducted a significant outreach effort to inform consumers of the opportunity to apply for a voucher, and to help with application submissions. In those two weeks, over 140 consumers successfully applied for Section 8 vouchers! But a voucher is often only the first step.

FREED staff continue to support consumers to navigate searching for available housing to meet their unique needs, obtaining and submitting required documents, accessing orientation meetings, and moving into a new home.

When requested, FREED staff communicated with landlords and advocated with other service providers to access needed resources and accommodations. For example, 40 consumers also received assistance to submit requests for Reasonable Accommodations.

When the Regional Housing Authority initially scheduled Section 8 orientation meetings, they were all being held in Yuba City. This created a major challenge for some Nevada County residents, due to lack of public transportation to reach their office. FREED staff reached out to the RHA and collaborated to offer orientation meetings at our office in Grass Valley. In this way, we supported 34 consumers to access their RHA orientation meetings where transportation is available and accessible.

The result of this outreach, advocacy, and support has been that in the past year FREED has supported at least 20 individuals with disabilities and older adults who now have safe, sustainable, accessible housing.

Within the HDAP program specifically, 11 chronically homeless consumers now have their own homes, and 6 consumers who were living in a temporary housing situation, now have a permanent home. We continue to hear stories and updates from consumers who are one by one moving up on waitlists, finding openings, and reaching their goals for a safe, sustainable, independent home of their own.

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