WISH LIST: Elijah Family Homes seeks donations to help needy families

Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldDecember 6, 2013 

Elijah Homes Wish List

Tana Hogan, Elijah Family Homes program administrator, right, talks with client Jenny Vasquez and her daughter, Eryn Nofiger, 18, during a recent visit to her Vasquez' Kennewick apartment. Vasquez is holding her one-month-old granddaughter Amayah Torres.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Editor's Note: This month the Herald is featuring a series of stories on the Holiday Wish Lists of Mid-Columbia nonprofits and how you can help. Charities can still email news@tricityherald.com with attention to Holiday Wish List, include name, contact information and a few specific needs.

Elijah Family Homes aims to answer a fervent wish -- one of families who sincerely want to turn their own lives around.

It's a wish made by adults who have fought through addiction, and have chosen instead to be better parents, to find stable jobs, to pursue schooling and a career and to become self-sufficient.

The three-year Richland-based transitional housing program is supporting 10 families with housing and services.

All but one of the families live in rental units owned by the nonprofit.

Rent is set on a sliding scale based on income.

"Elijah Family Homes helps families who are most likely to succeed with our help, and are likely to fail without it," said Ellen Kathren, the nonprofit's executive director.

Elijah Family Homes started about eight years ago as a ministry of Christ the King Catholic Church in Richland to offer housing to low-income families that have been turned down by public housing. It became a separate nonprofit about six years ago.

Already, six families have graduated from the transitional housing program. Some accomplishments Elijah Family Homes employees have celebrated with their current and past families include home ownership, moving to higher-paying, more secure jobs and graduating school.

Elijah Family Homes' wish for this holiday season is the cash that helps make the program successful.

For example, a $50 donation pays the cost of case management for one of the nonprofit's families.

"Without the case management, the houses are just a holding place," Kathren said.

A $75 donation pays for the hair sample drug test adults must go through before being accepted into the program, Kathren said. The hair sample goes back six to eight months.

The nonprofit requires clients to be clean for a minimum of a year before accepting them into the program.

Once accepted, adults agree to go through random drug tests to confirm they are staying clean.

Because of Elijah Family Homes' role as a landlord, money for maintenance is high on its wish list.

For example, $250 would help clean carpets or buy a washer, dryer or dishwasher, a $500 donation would cover a service call, $1,000 would help pay the cost of property taxes and $2,000 would help install a sprinkler system on one of the properties.

Also useful would be gas cards, snow shovels and hats and gloves.

Donations can be sent to: Elijah Family Homes, 660 George Washington Way, Ste G, Richland, WA 99352.

For more information, go to http://elijahfamilyhomes.org.

w Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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