The YWCA’s core program is the Supportive Housing Program. Working with area emergency shelters, we move the most vulnerable homeless families into safe, affordable housing. By “most vulnerable” we mean that we assess each family and those with the most health and safety risks are served first. Therefore our target population is single mothers struggling with disabling conditions themselves or their children’s. Research has proven that providing housing alone does not solve homelessness in our community. Some families will not remain permanently housed without advocacy and services to overcome the obstacles that rendered the family homeless in the first place. The three main causes for homelessness are 1) lack of affordable housing; 2) poverty; and 3) domestic violence. Our program addresses all three. There are many reasons that families live in poverty and that is a major focus of our supportive services. To help mothers break the cycle of poverty, gain a legitimate source of income and keep their family permanently housed.
Providing these intensive services is a cost-effective way to keep families intact and reduce their dependency on programs costly to tax payers. The cost of providing one person our services is approximately $7,000 per year. Compared to $127,000 to institutionalize a mother with mental illness and $40,000 per child in foster care.
Children living in homelessness compared to children permanently housed are ill, have severe behavioral problems, more developmentally delayed, experience food insecurity, are obese, 82% have witnessed or been the victim of violence, and perform poorly in school. By diverting these children from homelessness and foster care, supportive housing creates a hopeful future for these children.
This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; United Way of Adams County; Illinois Department of Human Services; Tracy Family Foundation; Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri; and local fundraising efforts.