Addressing the Needs from Emergency Shelter to Permanent Housing

Understanding homelessness requires a grasp of several social issues: poverty, affordable housing, disabilities, and others. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there are 643,067 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States. Of that number, 238,110 are people in families, and 404,957 are individuals. 17 percent of the homeless population is considered chronically homeless, and 67,000 are veterans.

Addressing homelessness in any given area is and urgent issue but not a simple task. WestCare understands that there is a need not only for shelter but also transitional living, case management, and eventually permanent housing. It is important to assess each person individually and assist them in addressing all issues in order to get back on their feet.

WestCare provides shelter and also works with other organizations to serve the homeless of various communities. Geogia's Blanket Atlanta program is a mobile outreach unit that works in collaboration with several local shelters to provide continuous comprehensive care to homeless adults and their families. In Florida, Turning Point serves as an emergency intervention shelter and inebriate receiving facility, providing intervention services for homeless adults with substance abuse issues.

Once the immediate need of shelter has been met, individuals must move to transitional living facilities to ensure positive change. In California, WestCare serves both homeless male veterans and homeless female veterans through Veteran's Plaza and HomeFront. These programs give back to those who have already given so much by providing them a home and case management services for up to two years. In Florida, the Mustard Seed Inn provides transitional housing to homeless adults who have begun their recovery from alcohol, drug abuse and/or mental illness.