With a focus on preventing homelessness and rehousing individuals, SEARCH Homeless Services provides assistance across Houston as well as Harris County. They provide emergency shelter and other aid, such as transitional housing, but case managers also partner with clients to address the cause of their homelessness and struggles.
There is a constant shortage of funds to pay overdue rent in Houston, which leads to an increased demand on shelter beds and transitional housing options. The county’s homeless population includes veterans, single moms, adults with addictions, children, and people without family and friends to rely upon. Many of these individuals are further challenged with lack of a support network, physical or mental health impairments, and insufficient job skills.
Too many people, and even entire families, are living on the streets of the community, although most continue to aggressively look for a way out, and these are the people SEARCH can help. To provide them with assistance and guidance, SEARCH’s Mobile Outreach Program travels to common gathering areas for the homeless throughout Houston. For those that the volunteers meet, they offer referrals, on-the-spot assessment, assistance, and intervention services. Staff will be armed with food, water, clothing, and blankets, and the charity will offer an important lifeline to people in need of help.
The Resource Center from SEARCH Homeless Services is also available to offer essential services to participants in their case management services. Or people facing eviction can learn about legal aid or grants for assisting them financially. Individuals who are seeking medical or dental services, and homeless clients seeking Employment, are some of the main clients. These services are in place to help clients begin their transition to stability and independence.
Another challenge in Harris County is too many low income people have poor health and have lack of affordable healthcare, and this is among the top factors related to homelessness. Some of the barriers to accessing adequate medical care are due to the fact that many people struggle to pay expensive health care bills. They often also lack of insurance or transportation, and in general the high cost of care and even long delays to get an appointment create various challenges.
To address this issue, SEARCH created Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston (HHH) in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine. The organizations offer medical care, free dental and check ups, mental health counseling, podiatry, and vision care at on-site medical and dental clinics for the homeless in our community.
The lives of the homeless can sometimes be in chaos, due to the wide array of challenges that contribute to their circumstances. This is made worse by the having no secure home or apartment and lack of a steady income. All this leads to greater social, physical, and emotional challenges.
The disability specialists and medical professionals within SEARCH’s Stabilization Services provide intensive case management to assist people dealing with these extra challenges with obtaining SSDI disability or Social Security income. This group includes the chronically disabled who have been without a home to live in for more than one year, the chronically homeless, or people with a mental illness who are homeless.
On the surface, homelessness is about the too expensive housing or the lack of a stable place to live. However, there are typically numerous underlying issues and challenges that also need to be addressed, such as a disability or lack of education. If they are not addressed, they will continue to pose difficulties to keeping permanent housing, and the cycle will continue. The programs described below assist individuals and families with maintaining stability once they have obtained housing.
Scattered Site Housing Program assists clients in Houston and the greater Harris County area in locating and securing affordable apartments or some other rental units. Whenever possible, they offer low interest loans or direct financial assistance with rent, paying utility bills, and security deposits on the new home.
In addition to that, ongoing support includes comprehensive case management services to ensure that clients are able to maintain their housing stability and do not get evicted again in the future. Currently, they are able to offer housing for disabled individuals as well.
Through partnerships between local churches as well as skilled case managers and various non-profit providers, the SEARCH Housing Plus Program provides ongoing support to formerly homeless residents who have transitioned into more stable housing. This collaboration helps to ensure long-term stability for those who have been placed into a low income apartment, and it can lead to stability.
Breaking the cycle and helping people achieve independence can help them return to work. Each year, the agency provides hundreds of people with job readiness and free work skills training, supportive case management, and employment placement services in Houston.
SEARCH staff members provide advice and education in regard to conducting a job search, developing a resume, saving money for work transportation, and enhancing interview skills. They also host weekly job club meetings or monthly fairs that provide peer support and continuing coaching, even after the clients have obtained employment.
Participants of these various job programs are also supplied with supplemental items that are necessary for a successful job search, including free gasoline vouchers, interview and work clothes, basic tools, meals, access to computers, telephones, bus tokens and more.
Another resources known as House of Tiny Treasures is an early childhood education program that provides developmentally appropriate education for preschool-age children and toddlers. It is for the very low income, or children of the homeless or single moms. It equips them with the problem-solving, self-regulation and cognitive skills necessary for success as they enter kindergarten.
Programming from the resource, known as HTT, includes basic education, intensive art, medical checkups, and speech therapy. Nutritious meals are served throughout the day as well. Additionally, most of the clients reside in area shelters or other housing programs, and, HTT provides comprehensive educational and support services for the entire family, including the parents. This is done in order to assist them in reaching the goal of becoming self-sufficient.
The location is at 2505 Fannin, Houston, Texas 77002. Call SEARCH at 713-739-7752. Call them for information on shelters or other services they administer.
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