We are excited to be opening Orange County’s first immediate response housing program for families.
Via Esperanza is the first immediate-response housing program for families in Orange County. For families who are in housing crisis, the need for safe shelter is the utmost priority. Unfortunately, the urgency for any type of shelter often places a family at greater risk- such as sleeping in a vehicle, continuing in an abusive relationship, or bouncing from motel to motel. While there are transitional housing programs to help families, they each have specialty entry criteria and assessment process.
Our goal is to have housing available when a family needs it and to follow through with placement that will lead to permanent affordable housing. Every family is different, and so the approach to finding housing options will look different as well. Some need counseling or employment development, some need substance-abuse intervention or legal help. Some need a few days to make contact with family who can take them in. Some just need the help to find an affordable apartment before their paycheck arrives.
VE CaptureSo when a family comes to Via Esperanza, the first goal is to make sure that they are safe- both to themselves and other families. Having a stable place to stay is the biggest influence on lowering the pressure of a crisis situation to begin making progress toward a positive solution.
The next step is to seek a solution to end homelessness immediately- are there family or friends that can help? Is there any income to pay toward rent? Do they qualify for permanent supportive housing based on significant disabilities?
If there are no solutions ready, we assess a family’s options- what types of programs do they qualify for and how do they access these services? What is the right fit to help this family move out of homelessness and into permanent housing? Which organizations can we partner with to address difficult situations?
At Via Esperanza, each family is provided an individual apartment unit for their family. This reinforces the security of the program and can de-stigmatize the experience of homelessness. What we want to instill in our guests is that homelessness is not an inescapable cycle or permanent state, but a temporary setback in their family’s journey together.
In nearly every situation, the series of events that has brought someone to the point of needing housing assistance has forced them out of all the positive relationships in their life. They have lost employment and neighbors. Their kids have had to leave school. They have burned bridges with family or are ashamed to share their situation. Programs like Via Esperanza are one small piece of rebuilding a sense of community and positive relationships. This is where the involvement of our volunteers and community partners makes a tremendous difference. Our families know that they are not alone on this journey anymore and that a different life is possible.
This new service is the result of the commitment from HomeAid Orange County, the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, and the City of Anaheim!
To see an interview with Pathways of Hope staff about the opening of Via Esperanza, click here.