Sometimes a natural disaster reduces a family’s home to bricks and splinters and they’re on the street unexpectedly. Other times, though, homelessness comes with some warning signs.
Eviction notices are usually served around a month before the “get out” date. This gives people at risk of homelessness time to come up with a plan. How a person uses this time can have an enormous impact on their outcomes.
The quicker someone reaches out to their community supports, the better.
It may surprise you that ECHOS doesn’t just address homelessness—it works to prevent homelessness. That’s why one of our biggest initiatives is our Eviction Prevention program. This program helps tenants at risk of being evicted, keep their homes. This is our bread and butter because it is much, much easier to keep someone from losing their home than to find them a new one.
But for clients to get the most out of Eviction Prevention, we need to hear from them early.
To show how important it is to be proactive, here are two stories.
Alex worked at a mill for decades but when she suffered a hernia, she had to take some time off to get well. Without enough savings to pay her rent, she received an eviction notice.
Thankfully, Alex contacted ECHOS quickly and our Eviction Prevention program provided her the temporary financial support to bridge the gap until her next pay day. She also worked with one of our social workers to practice budgeting so she could save enough to pull her through troubled times if they strike again.
Because Alex acted early, the experience was painless (well, except for the hernia).
Another client was not so proactive. The first time ECHOS heard from Jenny was on a Friday afternoon. She called to tell us she was scheduled to be evicted Monday morning.
At that point, nothing could stop the eviction—Jenny was losing her home. Eviction Prevention was out but luckily, she enrolled in a more intensive case management program that could guide and support her until she found a new place to call home. While we could still help her, it was trickier.
So, if you or someone you care about is at risk of losing their home in Lancaster County, don’t wait for the crisis to turn into a catastrophe. Instead, reach out to us at (717) 361-0740 or info@ECHOSLancaster.org.
Why It’s Easier to Stay Put
- When people live somewhere a while, they make friends and build a support system. If they move, those relationships might fall apart.
- Even worse, their children may need to switch schools.
- Big moves can drastically bump up the time of someone’s commute. They may even need to switch jobs.
- A low credit score can make finding a new place challenging.
- Then there’s so few affordable apartments right now that the housing market is very competitive.
- And even if they find place, applications, first-and-last month’s rent, and background checks make moving expensive.
Blog post written by ECHOS Summer Intern from Elizabethtown College, Jake Guiswite