Project Hope for the Homeless announces Welcome Home pilot project

Project Hope for the Homeless is pleased to announce a pilot project named “Welcome Home” to help fill a gap in service for 10 to 12 families moving from the shelter’s Families Moving Forward program to their own home during 2022.

Funding for the project began with $10,000 in seed money from the Baird Family Fund. Welcome Home provides between $500 to $1,000 for items not available by other means for families exiting the shelter’s care to their own home.

This may include bedding, small loveseat, kitchen table with two chairs, up to $250 may be used to get items out of storage, $100 cap for transportation or other specific needs approved by the executive director.

Families Moving Forward is one of Project Hope for the Homeless’ four major programs and serves parents and children who find themselves homeless. Guests within this program make up about 20% of the total shelter population.

Families Moving Forward staff ensures that all other ways to obtain these household items have been exhausted first by using other resources (the Lake/Geauga Furniture Bank, Hope Chest, Project Hope for the Homeless’ items, Birthright, Job and Family Services, and Sleep in Heavenly Peace for children’s beds).

If a parent has exhausted all other resources, staff work with the parent to secure cost-efficient items through partners and the executive director will purchase the item for delivery to a guest’s new address.

“It is such a blessing to see individuals and families move into affordable housing and begin fresh,” said Judy Burr, Project Hope for the Homeless executive director. “The Welcome Home project gives them a great opportunity to personalize their home with necessities they would not otherwise have the opportunity to obtain.”

Through Welcome Home, Project Hope for the Homeless recently was able to provide a toddler bed and mattress for the family of a boy who just celebrated his second birthday before leaving the shelter.

“We had determined that the mother was following her goal plan,” said Denniel Walker, family services specialist. “When she came to me, and we talked about what she might need for her house, she said they didn’t have beds for children.”

For the family’s two older children, shelter staff were able to secure a bunk bed through an outside organization that builds bunk beds for children, Walker said. However, securing a bed for a toddler was still needed and that’s how Welcome Home was able to help.

“We were able to use the Welcome Home funding to purchase a bed and we were able to deliver it to their house,” Walker said. “He had never had a bed before, he had a pack and play, but it’s not the same thing as having a big boy bed. Knowing that he would have a new bed, I can’t even describe the feeling.”

Bryan Bossert, property manager for Project Hope for the Homeless, delivered the bed and mattress to the family.

“It’s another tool in our toolbox to help people move forward in their lives,” Bossert said. “It’s definitely fulfilling, it’s another aspect of how we’re able to help people transition in a positive way.”

Project Hope for the Homeless is the only emergency shelter in Lake County and is in its 29th year of operation. The 50-bed facility and has provided emergency and transitional shelter, care and guidance to more than 8,000 people since inception.