December 19 at 8:21pm

Housing 2019 Completed

Interfaith Surpasses ‘Housing 2019’ Goal – “2,019th Person” Housed Shares Her Story

Interfaith’s ‘Housing 2019’ campaign addressed the growing crisis of homelessness by moving San Diegans off of the streets and helping those facing imminent eviction.

San Diego, CA (December 18, 2019) – Last year, Escondido-based nonprofit, Interfaith Community Services, set an 18-month goal to end and prevent homelessness for 2,019 people by the end of 2019. After exceeding its 12-month goal of ‘Housing 1000’ the year prior, the organization’s CEO, Greg Anglea, understood the importance of setting ambitious, data-driven community goals.

“With the amount of people facing homelessness increasing, it was crucial that we set about a strategy to help even more people,” said Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith.

Today, Interfaith announces they have successfully ended and prevented homelessness for 2,022 people before the end of their 18-month campaign.

This success was achieved with the generous support of community partners, faith congregations, donors, volunteers, staff, and the families themselves.

Interfaith has shown the effectiveness of prioritizing secure, long-term housing and right-sized services to end homelessness and, just as importantly, timely interventions to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless.

Interfaith is currently working with 2-1-1 and SDSU to track the long-term success of those for whom they helped to prevent homelessness.

“Setting goals matters, and data-driven performance management, to measure and improve performance, in order to meet these big goals, works,” says Anglea, “but we also can’t forget about the people behind these big figures, each with their own unique story.”

Diana didn’t have an address for 15 years until recently. Her eyes fill up with tears as she discusses the hardships endured while experiencing homelessness, stating, “there was no way I could go through another winter on the streets at my age.” Years of living in the canyons and struggling with addiction has taken its toll on Diana, but recently through working with Interfaith and its partnership with Oceanside Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team, she has moved into her own studio apartment. She says it’s perfect for her and Anniki, “her right-hand lady.”  Anniki is Diana’s emotional support dog who she has had for the last four years.  Since moving into her studio, Diana says, “I am much happier, I am socializing better, Anniki is happier and what huge difference it is to have a safe place to lay my head and call my own.”

The process to get Diana to where she is now was not without challenges, due to the difficulty involved in locating a landlord who would take a chance on someone with a history of homelessness.  With Interfaith advocating on her behalf, along with partnerships with local landlords, and wrap-around supportive services to address the underlying causes of her homelessness, Diana now has a safe place to call home.

While Diana’s story shows how important it is that we don’t give up on our neighbors suffering on the streets, Interfaith also emphasizes the importance of homelessness prevention.

“The troubling reality is that more and more people are falling into homelessness for the very first time when unexpected hardship strikes,” says Anglea.

The campaign also focused on homelessness prevention because, while it can take thousands of dollars in resources to overcome homelessness, often only a few hundred dollars can keep someone housed, help them address the issues that brought them to the brink of homelessness, and most importantly, wholly avoid the trauma endured when living on the streets. A senior by the name of Karen, is one example of someone who could have lost her housing if it weren’t for Interfaith’s homelessness prevention work.

Karen, a vibrant and hardworking senior, faced a rough couple of months earlier this year; she was present at the 2019 synagogue shooting in Poway, and not only was she there, her best friend was a victim. Shortly after, Karen also lost three of her caregiving clients, resulting in both devastating heartbreak and a significant deficit to her income. Karen came to Interfaith seeking help once the reality hit that she was not going to make her mortgage. Interfaith assisted her with part of the payment to avoid eviction, as well as her SDG&E bill so she didn’t lose electricity. Karen continued to work with Interfaith to obtain reliable employment and is now finishing her real estate license so that she can continue to live independently.

Each of the 2,022 people Interfaith helped during Housing 2019 has a unique story of personal struggle and inspirational resilience. Every day, individuals like Karen and Diana enter the doors of Interfaith seeking help. It is only because of support from the community, which provided flexible dollars for rental assistance and other housing-related costs, that Interfaith continues to be there – to learn more about how you can help before the end of the year, visit https://www.interfaithservices.org/housing-2019/

 

For more information, please contact Fiona King, Communications & Development Manager, at (760) 504-8942 or fking@interfaithservices.org.