Homeless to Renter (H2R) is a program assisting families who are currently experiencing homelessness or living in transitional housing to move into their own apartments. The program was created by Temple Beth Am to enable us to participate in the private sector and government partnership fulfilling the goals of the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness in King County, Washington. Our congregation partners with Seattle's Jewish Family Service agency to identify families, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who are ready to successfully maintain a home.
H2R provides the security deposit and/or other move-in expenses and shares any refund due at the end of the tenancy on a 50/50 basis with the tenant. This incentive encourages tenants to fulfill their lease obligation. Our share of the refund is recycled to help new applicants. Congregation members also provide families with welcome baskets, including hand-knit afghans, household and personal care supplies. This offers every congregant an opportunity to assist families in need, and educates us all on the faces of homelessness in our community.
Monthly articles in the congregation's bulletin and a changing poster in the lobby help keep the congregation aware of H2R's progress and the continuing need for the program. In our first two years, we raised a total of $36,000 through donations and benefit events. The H2R program has assisted forty-three families so far, including nearly one hundred children with an average grant per family of $650.
RESOURCES: Poster advertising the program, summary of the program, brochure, benefit invitation, Ten-Year Plan.
For more information on helping the homeless and other social action projects, see the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) website at www.rac.org.