Beginning later this month, Eastside families that need help finding a place to stay will need to call just one number and make one appointment to receive assistance.
Redmond-based announced Thursday it will begin hosting a new program called Family Housing Connection on a part-time basis later this month to ease the burden that confronts both families and social workers in the housing application process.
The goal of the new program is to provide a single phone number and place for people to go to find assistance, according to Together Center Executive Director Pam Mauk. Up until now, Mauk said, housing applicants would often complete several rounds of paperwork and social workers would have to call dozens of phone numbers to find a shelter or transitional housing location with available space.
Starting April 23, families in need can call 211, a regional crisis line, and be connected with real-time information on available housing throughout the East King County area. By making the call, families and individuals will also be able to set up an appointment with a Family Housing Connection staff member to discuss their options.
The new system will enable applicants to be put on a unified housing waiting list, rather than seeking out housing on an agency-by-agency basis, Mauk said. Information on other services, such as food or substance-abuse treatment, will also be available through Family Housing Connection, she said.
"Their primary focus will be on housing, but they will also be able to refer (applicants) to other services," Mauk said.
Family Housing Connection was started as part of a regional initiative called the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in King County, Mauk said, and is being operated by Catholic Community Services on a contract basis.
Here is some more information on the program from a Together Center news release:
Over 80 programs are participating in Family Housing Connection at this time, including emergency shelters, motel voucher programs, rapid rehousing/rental assistance programs, transitional housing and service enriched housing programs, as well as permanent supportive housing programs. Family Housing Connection is fully staffed with a diverse team that includes four team members with experience as an immigrant or refugee in King County and bilingual team members that speak Amharic, English, Gurage, Russian, Spanish, Somali, Swahili and Tigrinya.
Family Housing Connection will be located at Together Center in Redmond for 20 hours per week. Bellevue will host another Eastside office and there are seven additional offices scattered throughout King County to reduce transportation barriers. Housing assessments will be provided during daytime, evening and weekend hours to accommodate various family schedules.