HOTEL INC has partnered with Bowling Green Christian Church to provide a temporary home to individuals or families who have become homeless because of unexpected circumstances.
The church purchased the home last year and has since renovated and donated it to HOTEL INC for two years to help people affected by sudden homelessness get back on their feet by providing necessary resources and support to obtain self-sufficiency, said the church’s pastor, Weston Williams. “There are so many dynamics that keep people in the destructive cycle of homelessness,” Williams said.
By providing a temporary home where an individual or family can stay up to 90 days, Williams said he hopes a strong support system provided by the church and HOTEL INC will help people break that cycle.
HOTEL INC is accepting applications and interviewing qualified applicants to move into the home by mid-February.
“We have this resource and asset, and there’s no reason why we should keep it to ourselves,” Williams said about the home.
Applicants must meet requirements outlined by HOTEL INC and submit a written application.
People who are chronically homeless, meaning they have experienced homelessness more than four times in the past three years, may still apply for residency but may not be able to meet the requirements, HOTEL INC Director Rhondell Miller said.
Those who qualify will be interviewed by a panel that will include a member of the board of directors, Miller and a member of the transitional housing group, she said.
To qualify for the transitional housing program, applicants must:
•Be homeless or precariously housed.
•Have a minimum of resources.
•Meet the specific affiliate’s low- or moderate-income guidelines.
•Be employed full time, working 36 to 40 hours a week, or have a part-time job with the intention of securing a second part-time job within 30 days of the application.
•Accept responsibility to secure transportation for work.
•Show motivation to change their situation.
Although several organizations in the community offer shelters and temporary housing to people with specific needs, there isn’t a housing unit that would help individuals or families who have become homeless because of an unforeseen circumstance, such as job loss, divorce, death in the family, a fire, medical problems and bills, Miller said.
The residents will live in the home without having to pay for rent and utility costs, but they will have to follow rules and guidelines as outlined in the application, she said.
The home will give people in need a chance to get back on their feet with the support and assistance from HOTEL INC personnel and volunteers, churches in the community and financial advisers, she said.
The 1,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, one-bath home has been remodeled by members of Bowling Green Christian Church and donated to HOTEL INC to use for two years for the transitional housing program, Miller said.
The motivation behind HOTEL INC’s partnership with the church was to promote a sense of community and support to individuals or families who strive to regain self-sufficiency but are lacking a support system to help them get through such tough times, Miller said.
“It’s impossible to break that cycle of homelessness without assistance,” Williams said.
The need for transitional housing is high in Bowling Green, with more and more families struggling to make it, he said.
“It’s our hope that other people will see this work and join in and contribute another property or two,” Williams said.
HOTEL INC developed the transitional housing program based on the Hillcrest model, which was started in the Kansas City area and has since been implemented in several other cities and counties, Miller said.
The model has had an 85 percent success rate in the past by helping individuals and families who leave the transitional housing program continue on a self-sufficient path, she said.
“When you’re walking along those suffering from homelessness, it reminds us all that none of us are invincible to that happening,” Miller said.
The need for a transitional house was there and the church had a home available to meet that need, Bowling Green Christian Church Liaison Brooke Schreiner said.
“It was great to see how God brought the two timelines together,” Schreiner said.
Financial support for the transitional housing program came from a private donor and several churches, including Broadway United Methodist, Christ Episcopal Church and The Presbyterian Church, Miller said.