Illness and job loss left Keisha unable to pay her rent. Suddenly, she and her three children were homeless and had nowhere to go. When Keisha started looking for help, she was confused by the bewildering array of social services. As days slipped into weeks, Keisha and her kids slid deeper into crisis.
A new national initiative from HUD to local "Continuum of Care" organizations will be based at MUST Ministries to help Cobb County citizens experiencing homelessness get more easily connected to housing and assistance based on their strengths and needs.
"Coordinated Entry" creates four access points where people experiencing a housing crisis can be quickly identified, assessed and referred for housing -- without the hassle of bouncing from place to place in search of available bed space.
Four county non-profits – MUST Ministries, Hope ATL, Center for Family Resources and The Extension – are partnering with Cobb County's Continuum of Care to consolidate information about available permanent housing resources and streamline the process for residents in greatest need of this assistance.
Coordinated Entry doesn't change how clients interact with providers like MUST. It simply consolidates into one list the names of all individuals seeking a housing solution in Cobb. Then they will be referred by MUST's Coordinated Entry Specialist, Jillian Bradfield, to community housing service providers.
"The initiative minimizes the duplication of services and seeks to ensure no one in great need falls through the cracks in the system," Bradfield says. "Barriers will be reduced and people in a housing crisis will not only find emergency shelter, but also be made aware of permanent housing options."
Bradfield has served with MUST before and is delighted to invest more in helping her neighbors. "I love MUST! I have volunteered in the MUST Marketplace thrift store and all of Cobb knows MUST does great work," she said. "I'm glad to help people in crisis more easily get the help they need."
To learn more about MUST's housing initiatives, please click here.