Funding for Hearth’s award winning Outreach Program from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been unexpectedly eliminated, retroactive to February of this year. HUD decided to shift its focus away from support services to exclusively bricks and mortar projects, eliminating all funding to Hearth’s Outreach Program and our team of seven case managers. We have received support from HUD every year since the Outreach Program began in 1991 so you can imagine how devastating this news has been for us.
Outreach is one of the cornerstones of Hearth’s mission. Hearth’s mission to end elder homelessness is achievable through our housing programs coupled with outreach. More than two thousand of the city’s most vulnerable seniors have been placed into safe and affordable housing with the assistance of our Outreach team. These are people like Maxine who worked tirelessly with her Hearth case manager to secure housing, filling out more than 20 housing applications and keeping every appointment, regardless of the fact that she had to take the subway and two bus routes to get to Hearth. She is now happy in her new home and is gardening once again, which is a passion of hers.
While your help id greatly appreciated, we realize that we cannot depend on philanthropy to fill this loss of federal funding forever, and we do have a long term strategy to ensure sustainability. Hearth is a provider of an innovative new program called Pay for Success that provides us with funding when people who meet certain criteria are successfully housed. We currently have 40 slots under a contract for this program and have recently negotiated five additional slots. Over time, this program will fill the gap that has been left by the loss of HUD funding. In the meantime, there is a gap we must bridge if we are to continue providing vital Outreach services that get people out of the shelters, off the street, and into a home to call their own.
Photo credit: David Salafia