Did you know that housing instability was the number one reason folks came to Room One seeking support the past two years? As most of us cozy up for the winter, we know many of our neighbors are living in their cars, unheated storage sheds or poorly insulated trailers, or are at risk of losing the warmth of their current housing. This newsletter, we wanted to share with you the ways homelessness is touching our neighbors lives, and how our community is responding with care and solutions.
2018 Room One Housing Services in Numbers
77 families identified housing as a primary challenge
25 families identified as homeless
34 families avoided eviction with financial and other assistance
15 families moved into safe & stable housing with financial support
What We Know About Housing Instability in the Methow
“Here’s what I want: my own bedroom and running water.” Room One Client, Age 16
When people connect with Room One, we can help with eviction prevention, financial assistance for first month’s rent or utilities, and the barriers that keep us from stable housing. When we can’t meet the need, we partner with organizations like Okanogan County Community Action Council, the Cove, and Salvation Army. But we know that a lack of accessible, affordable housing means individuals and families go far too long without an adequate or safe place to call home.
Most often, when someone is seeking housing support, their precarious financial balance has just tipped. National data shows us that 40% of Americans could not cover an unexpected $400 expense, and we see that play out in real life as people in the Methow Valley struggle to pay housing-related costs following a hospitalization or car repair. Over the last twenty years, real wages have fallen for low and middle-income families, and income instability and inequality has grown. In fact, there is not a single county in the country in which a minimum wage worker can afford a two bedroom apartment. Our work as an organization and a community is to grapple with the problem, change the conditions that create such inequality, and know the solutions often involve relying on each other during times of need.
How Room One Works to Get Upstream of the Housing Crisis
Serve on the Okanogan Housing Coalition
Lead a county-wide coalition to focus on youth homelessness
Help draft the Okanogan County Plan to Respond to Homelessness
Participate in and inform a county-wide Coordinated Entry program
Be an active member on the Methow Housing Trust Board and Policy Committee
Connect with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and other state partners
Advocate for housing needs to developers, partners, and decision makers
Participate on the state leadership team for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project