Elijah Family Homes wants to start the new year helping out one more Tri-City family in need of the nonprofit’s three-year transitional housing program.
The Richland-based agency has seen a growing demand for the support it provides to families who work hard to move beyond a past of addiction and crime.
The demand is high enough that Elijah Family Homes closed its waiting list of seven families, said Ellen Kathren, the nonprofit’s executive director. Most of those families have three to four children.
Now, when people call to ask about the list, Kathren said they tell them to call back in a few months. More people have become aware of what Elijah Family Homes offers, which might contribute to the rising demand.
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There are ten families in the program at any one time. Nine live in housing donated to Elijah Family Homes, and one family receives rent-support while they live in a privately-owned home — which is how the nonprofit started.
Kathren said the nonprofit wants to grow by adding rent support for a second family.
In total, Elijah Family Homes needs $10,300 to support one family for a year. That includes $6,000 for rent support and another $4,300 for supportive services, including case management. The nonprofit already receives some donated support services that help keep the cost down.
Families accepted into the program are those considered most likely to succeed. They already have stayed clean of drugs for at least one year. They also are in need of stable housing and supportive services to finish school, so they can pursue a career that will allow them to support themselves and their children.
The program holds them accountable, starting with random drug tests. They create a list of goals and then go after them, whether it is getting their driver’s license back, finishing a degree, paying off fines, rebuilding family relationships or finding a better-paying job.
“We are just part of the path,” Kathren said.
Elijah Family Homes was created to fill a niche need that wasn’t being met — families who don’t qualify for public housing but need help to reach self-sufficiency.
Elijah Family Homes started about nine years ago as a ministry of Christ the King Catholic Church in Richland. It became a separate nonprofit about seven years ago and since then has graduated about seven families.
Most of the nonprofit’s graduates are doing well, Kathren said. She recently ran background checks on 11 graduates, including some from before the group added supportive services. Of those, two had relapsed, but none fell into homelessness again.
Nine had no new criminal charges on their records.
To help, tax-deductible donations can be sent to: Elijah Family Homes, 660 George Washington Way, Ste. G, Richland, WA 99352. Donations also can be made at http://elijahfamilyhomes.org/ or by calling 509-943-6610. Elijah Family Homes also can be chosen as a benefiting charity through Amazon Smile at https://smile.amazon.com/.