Navigating the System to Find a Place When Homeless
We see the people on the street corners with cardboard signs; we notice the tent cities in downtown areas and in the suburbs; we read about the "sweeps;" we vote to fund programs to help; we donate to local organizations serving the homeless; we make sandwiches for the homeless once a month. . . but, really, don't we all feel a little helpless when it comes to this problem?
One of our parishioners recently asked for help for a homeless man named Rod who is camping in his truck with an attached trailer. He is around 60 years old, disabled, unemployed and can't work, living on disability, wanting a small place to live. Rod had already received a list of resources and had been unsuccessful. People like him need more than a list--they need a connection with a social worker or friend to guide them through all the steps.
In short, here is what a social worker advises:
Google “CO housing authorities,” which will list open times for housing voucher lotteries for Denver, Aurora, Englewood, Lakewood, Littleton Housing Authorities.
Apply for housing voucher lotteries when those community’s lotteries are open (generally one has to be in Colorado for 90 days to be eligible).
If successful, the applicant will be able to apply for Section 8 housing.
If over 60, Google “senior subsidized housing buildings” and start applying for those buildings directly. This means getting on as many waiting lists as possible.
Note: Both Section 8 housing and low-income availability is “absolutely terrible right now.” Social workers are spread very thin.
If applicants don’t have a computer or phone, they can use a computer at a public library.