“What we would like to do is change the world – make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended for them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, of the poor, of the destitute…we can, to a certain extent, change the world…” — Dorothy Day

How can we change the world for those experiencing homelessness – not only in Toledo, Ohio, but throughout the world? Is it possible to end homelessness? If so, how do we do it?

Homeless In Toledo

According to 13 ABC, “The last count showed there were 640 people living in Lucas County shelters, and 22 people living on the streets.”

The homeless population is counted every January in our community of Toledo and Lucas County. This is required in order to receive federal money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

What Works?

Major organizations have outlined several items that will help end homelessness. Top solutions include Housing, Crisis Response Systems, and Prevention. 

Solutions to homelessness from United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) include:

  1. Housing
  2. Integrate Health Care
  3. Build Career Pathways
  4. Foster Education Connections
  5. Strengthen Crises Response Systems
  6. Reduce Criminal Justice Involvement
  7. Build Partnerships
  8. Prevent Homelessness

The Coalition for the Homeless (CFTH) offer these solutions to homelessness:

  1. Right to Shelter
  2. Housing
  3. Prevention & Stability

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) offer these suggestions:

  1. A Coordinated Approach
  2. Housing as the Solution
  3. Assistance for the Most Vulnerable
  4. Designing a Crisis Response
  5. Increasing Employment & Income

Housing First

Both CFTH and USICH recommend a Housing First approach. Housing First means that our communities should focus on finding homes for the homeless before anything else. Housing First is based on the belief that once a person has a home, they are better able to address the issues that led them into homelessness.

“A Housing First system orientation recognizes that people experiencing homelessness—like all people—need the safety and stability of a home in order to best address challenges and pursue opportunities.” – USICH on Housing First

“Research studies have found that the majority of long-term street homeless people moved into ‘housing first’ apartments remain stably housed and experience significant improvements in their health problems. Much like permanent supportive housing, the “housing first” approach is far less costly than emergency and institutional care, such as shelters, hospitals, and correctional facilities.” – CFTH on Housing First

Preventing Homelessness

Another solution to ending homelessness is to prevent it in the first place. CFTH suggests many ways to help prevent homelessness, including eviction prevention, offering legal help to low-income tenants in housing court, programs for those transitioning from foster care or prison, and support services. In addition to these solutions, USICH recommends addressing the housing crisis and the lack of affordable housing throughout the country. 

The CFTH states that prevention can happen in many ways. “Once they’ve left homelessness for permanent housing, many formerly homeless families and individuals can benefit from support services to help maintain housing stability. This can include services like job training, child care and community-based counseling services. More fundamentally, enhancing housing stability for poor and low-income renters involves broader policy changes including living-wage jobs; access to affordable health care; and adequate public benefits for people living with disabilities.” (Proven Solutions from the Coalition for the Homeless)

Crisis Response

The need for affordable housing and preventing homelessness are closely followed by the need for a strong crisis response system. A crisis response system involves identifying the homeless and connecting them to services through outreach programs. 

Another piece to building a strong crisis response system includes providing access to shelter and support services through a coordinated entry system, such as United Way’s 2-1-1. 

Emergency shelter and support services are also a key element of a strong crisis response system. 

Regarding a crisis response system, NAEH states, “An effective crisis response system is able to identify and quickly connect people who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing homelessness to housing assistance and other services. It works because it aligns a community, its programs and services around one common goal — to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring.”

Rapid Re-Housing

The USICH suggests Rapid Re-Housing as a strong intervention for families experiencing homelessness. Rapid Re-Housing helps families find permanent housing quickly and reduce families’ time experiencing homelessness.

Rapid Re-Housing includes several core components: (1) Housing Identification; (2) Rent and Move-in Assistance; and (3) Case Management and Support Services.

Firstly, for a Rapid Re-housing program to succeed, it’s vital to engage local landlords in the program. Landlords must be willing to participate in the program and provide housing opportunities to families transitioning out of homelessness.

Secondly, assistance must be given to these families to help them cover rent and move-in costs such as deposits and utility assistance.

Lastly, families need support from case managers and local services. This includes help with selecting an appropriate housing solution, help with challenges that prevent families from accessing housing, assistance with negotiating rental leases, connecting families to services that support their stabilization in permanent housing.

You Can Change a Life

For our current and future Participants, the need for comprehensive services continues to grow. To meet that need, we have big plans. And big plans call for big dollars. We need your help. Will you partner with us to meet the needs of our community? You can give by PayPal, or by mailing a check to Leading Families Home, 2910 W. Central Avenue, Toledo, Ohio 43606.

Thank you for always being faithful partners in our mission — helping families transition from homelessness to permanent housing. Together we’ve got this.

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Help Us Out

Leading Families Home is based in Toledo, Ohio. We are dedicated to fighting homelessness in our community – and we’d love your help! Please consider supporting our organization in one of the following ways:

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Mail a Check

To donate by check, please make the check out to Leading Families Home.

Mail your check to the following address:

Leading Families Home

2283 Ashland Ave.

Toledo, OH 43604

Other Ways to Donate

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Matching Gifts: Double Your Donation

Every year we have a Match Campaign – an exciting way for you to double your impact. During this campaign, our match partners will match your monetary donation to Leading Families Home.

Match partners also include corporate sponsors who match their employees’ donations. If you’d like to participate, find out if your employer matches employee donations to 501(c)(3) organizations and contact us.

Host a 3rd Party Fundraiser

Do you love to plan events? You can raise donations for LFH by hosting your own event! Have fun and make an impact on our community. Ask for donations instead of birthday gifts or baby shower presents.

Remember Us in Your Will

A Planned Gift allows you to donate in a very meaningful way. Contact your financial advisor or estate planner to learn more.