|Neighbors Of Watertown, Inc - News & Articles||
By: Rebecca Madden, Times Staff Writer | March 16, 2010
Jennifer A. Shear credits the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance's Supported Housing for Families and Young Adults program with saving her family from homelessness five years ago.
Knowing the $5 million program may be eliminated from the 2010-11 state budget worries her, she said, because she wonders what will happen to families facing similar problems.
"I don't know where we would have been without this," Mrs. Shear said.
She and her husband, Jamie J., and children, Samantha J., 10, and Andrew J., 7, faced homelessness after their landlord sold the apartment building they lived in and they couldn't afford the increased rent set by the new landlord.
They now live at 24 Emerson Place, Watertown, which is managed by Neighbors of Watertown.
"It doesn't make sense to cut the funding completely," Mrs. Shear said. "I'd encourage people to write letters to support it."
Mrs. Shear, her daughter, Neighbors of Watertown staff members and a couple of other area families who benefit from the program will travel to Albany on Thursday to urge state lawmakers to keep the funding for the program intact.
Terra L. House, family case manager at Neighbors of Watertown, said the program not only helps those at risk of becoming homeless to find affordable housing, it provides young adults and families with case management and tenant services.
"We can work on them with independent living skills to financials, help them look for employment, further their education, and we further assist them in navigating the system out there," she said.
The proposed funding elimination could affect more than 4,000 families statewide, including the 27 families Neighbors of Watertown currently assists through the program, according to Ms. House.
Mrs. Shear said that's too big a risk to take. Now that she and her family have a three-bedroom apartment to call their own and her husband has become more established in his job, they're financially stable enough to save toward their first home.
"This laid the foundation work to move on," she said.
There is no time cap as to how long families or young adults can stay in a Neighbors of Watertown apartment if they're using Supported Housing for Families and Young Adults funds, Ms. House said, but whenever families become financially stable, they often purchase a home through Neighbors' first-time home-buyer program, which provides financial assistance.
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