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Lives Transformed: Providing Stability Through Independence

Beth was struggling. She had been laid-off from her job as a data processor and had exhausted her unemployment insurance benefits. She was living with relatives but the dynamics were difficult. She also had a son who was a resident in a program run by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Center NY for children suffering from emotional problems. He was nearing completion of his treatment there and unfortunately, Beth would not able to reunite with him at that point as she could not afford housing and her extended family was not able to financially accommodate them both.

In stepped a Catholic Charities residential supervisor who had been working closely with Beth and her son who referred them to another program named Project Independence (http://www.catholiccharities.cc/ourservices/mentalhealthin.html). Through the coordinated efforts of Project Independence and the residential home where the son was living, Catholic Charities was able to provide an apartment that would enable Beth and her son to be reunited while living independently in their own apartment. Beth eventually enrolled with VESID (Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities) to acquire the skills necessary to find job placement. She now is working full-time, maintains abstinence from alcohol and substance abuse by regularly attending AA meetings and her son is doing well in the BOCES school program. Having found a stable housing environment, Beth and her son were able to focus on overcoming their disabilities and grow together as a family.

In Spring 2003, the foundation for this success was set when Catholic Charities received a Supportive Housing (SHP) grant from HUD to provide housing assistance and services to individuals with low incomes who are also struggling with mental health issues and/or a history of substance abuse. Project Independence, helps individuals and families to live in scattered site apartments in Nassau County, NY and provides case management services monthly to help identify client needs and coordinate with any social service resources that may be available. Additionally, the program�s Housing Manager serves to negotiate between the clients and potential landlords to address any issues in acquiring and maintaining the apartment. The budget allows for eleven apartments at the �Fair Market� rent as determined by HUD. Clients are responsible for contributing 30% of their income toward the rent. To be eligible, an applicant must be facing eviction or come from a shelter or transitional housing. The ultimate goal of the program is to help stabilize the lives of clients by providing safe, permanent living environments and by supporting him or her to achieve education goals and full-time employment moving them to further independence.

This stability is exactly what occurred with a client named Beth and her son. Stability through independence and the creative use of a HUD program.

Content Archived: March 07, 2011

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