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A Real Solution to a Growing Concern

While homelessness is often thought to be an urban phenomenon, the 2022 national Point-in-Time (PIT) counts revealed that 18% of those experiencing homelessness were in rural areas.  Additionally, from 2020 to 2022, not only did rural areas witness a greater increase in homelessness than their urban and suburban counterparts, the highest percentage of unsheltered homeless families with children were located in rural areas.  Despite this trend, relatively few services and options are available to these families. Life’s River is changing that with a proven model offering families the footing they need to change their situation and regain housing stability.  


Our solution follows the model of transitional housing offering temporary residential living space for homeless families while surrounding them with a full suite of uplifting support and services.  The services we offer are custom tailored to specifically address the variables contributing to each family’s global situation.  This could include financial education and planning, debt management plans and credit repair, educational advancement, job and skills training, life-skills, counseling, and more.  


Similar programs have returned encouraging results.  A study conducted by the Urban Institute titled, “Life After Transitional Housing for Homeless Families,” followed 174 families in 36 different transitional housing programs across 5 communities.  After exiting a transitional housing program, of these 174 families, only 4 had fallen back into homelessness the following year.  Transitional housing programs in our region we have been in touch with have yielded comparable results, with success rates hovering between 88 to 92 percent.


That being said, we are aware of the rapidly changing landscape of increasing external barriers. Lack of housing affordability and availability due to rising single-family home prices and interest rates, decreased available credit options due to bank consolidation, inflationary pressures and rising energy costs, a shortage of affordable rental properties, and inadequate housing due to deficiencies in plumbing, electrical wiring, and HVAC are among a few of the multi-faceted and complex issue exacerbating housing insecurity in rural areas.[1]  We believe, however, with our tested solution and the support of the community working together to address these barriers, we can turn the tide for struggling families providing the hand-up needed to reclaim their life-situation.  


[1] Housing Assistance Council, “Taking Stock: Rural People, Rural Places, Rural Housing”

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