I am writing to express my support for fully funding and continuing the Housing and Essential Needs program and Aged Blind and Disabled program. I am a housing assistance specialist at Opportunity Council and use the grant to house an underserved group of people in Whatcom County. The average client is a disabled individual in their 40s who is not likely to be eligible for other housing services. Additionally, Housing and Essential Needs provides eviction prevention services, which are a scarcity in our community.
This program creates stability for people who would otherwise continue to experience homelessness or are at risk of homelessness, and as a result would have a tendency to more likely utilize expensive emergency services.
The people that I assist are individuals who have fallen through the cracks of most insurance or health care services and need temporary housing assistance until they are able to go back to work. My clients have a strong desire to be independent again and not have to depend on a housing subsidy just to pay for their rent and basic items like shampoo and cleaning supplies.
Should Housing and Essential Needs be cut or underfunded it would mean that more people in our community would experience homelessness and not have any kind of safety net while they recover from their health issues. Having a disability should not result in housing instability or homelessness.