On Monday, July 23, the Salem Housing Authority gave an update on the one-year old Homeless Rental Assistance Program. Launched in July 2017 with the goal to house 100 homeless individuals identified as “hardest-to-house,” the program housed 71 clients and enrolled 121 clients in its first year. To help make more housing available for enrolled individuals, the Salem Housing Authority also started a sponsorship program in April 2018.
Homelessness in Salem is a complex problem that requires long-term, committed partnerships with public, non-profit, and private organizations.
The Homeless Rental Assistance Program is a key component of the Salem Strategic Plan. Supported by Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett and the Salem City Council, the City of Salem committed $1.4 million last year to the program through the Salem Housing Authority. The program combines rental assistance with intensive case management, and wrap-around services to treat addiction, mental illness and medical ailments. The program also helps clients overcome other preexisting barriers to housing such as criminal history, evictions or poor rental history.
Individuals, businesses and organizations wishing to support the Homeless Rental Assistance Program should go to the Salem Housing Authority website for more information or to donate. The first donation to the program was received at the July 23 Housing Commission meeting and was given by 8-year old Abel Najera-Banuelos. Abel presented the Housing Commission with $100 that he earned through his lemonade stand.