From Chronic Homelessness to a Permanent Home

There are over 400 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in Chester County. Until recently, Eve was one of them. She joined Open Hearth’s Continuum of Care Permanent Supportive Housing Program (CoC) after living on the streets and in a tent in West Chester for several years. Upon her intake into CoC, staff helped her connect with another Open Hearth program so she could temporarily stay in a hotel while she searched for a landlord who would accept CoC’s HUD subsidy. While temporarily housed, Eve was able to find a job she loves where she feels valued and part of a community.

Stable housing is crucially important. Evidence shows that housing is vital to mental and physical health as well as economic productivity. For someone with a disability (a requirement for all CoC clients), the lack of safe and affordable housing is one of the most powerful barriers to recovery. When this basic need isn’t met, people often cycle in and out of homelessness, jails, shelters, and/or hospitals.

With the help of her Open Hearth Client Services Coordinator (CSC), Eve was able to connect with a landlord and move into an apartment. After she signed her lease, her CSC welcomed her at her new home with a basket of household necessities. Eve’s CSC also connected her with an agency that provided gently used donated furniture since she didn’t have the means to purchase these essential items herself. Eve is thrilled with her new apartment and as an artist, is excited to have a space to draw and paint. The safety and security provided by stable housing removed several barriers for her, which has brought her an increased sense of pride.

As a growing number of the clients who enter our program are entering from chronic homelessness, the need to provide enhanced support has also increased. This is true even though the funding we receive through government contracts has remained flat for many years.

Your support of Open Hearth is crucial to clients like Eve having the resources they need to maintain their housing if they experience bumps in the road. For instance, when a landlord sells their property and the client needs guidance to find a new rental that will accept their housing subsidy.

We look forward to providing the ongoing support Eve needs as she settles into her new home. With secure housing, she is moving from surviving to thriving and we can’t wait to see what’s next for her!