Homeless people in Ogden now have a place to stay while getting their lives back together.
Your Community Connection has just completed renovating an old office building, and nine apartments are now available to house homeless people.YCC Executive Director Gaye Littleton said the transitional housing program is now helping 15 people to get back on their feet.
Housing is provided for men, women and children while YCC helps those residents find jobs, apartments and employment opportunities. Jobs are found through the Beverly Monson Employment Training Program.
A large chunk of the money to help Ogden's homeless people came from a $900,000 grant from the federal government. That money will be given to YCC throughout the next five years. Another $30,000 came from the Governor's Critical Needs Housing Program.
Housing coordinator Jeanne Hansel said six apartments are now inhabited by 15 occupants. Those living in YCC housing units include a family, two sisters with children, two single mothers with children and one single woman.
"We want them to have as normal a life as possible," said Littleton.
Littleton said the purpose of the program is to provide temporary shelter for the homeless while finding them jobs so they can eventually become self-sufficient and go back into the mainstream of society.
Hansel described most homeless people as "working poor."
She said the family that is currently in a transitional housing apartment is on its way to success because the members are trying hard to gain financial stability.
The husband, wife and two sons came to Utah looking for work and moved in with the woman's mother in a small house, Hansel said.
"The living arrangements just weren't working out," said Hansel. "It was way too tense."
So the family moved out and is now living in an apartment provided by YCC. Hansel said the father is enrolled in a vocational school and working part-time while the mother is working on getting her high school diploma. Both boys are enrolled in a public school.
"They're a real together family," said Hansel. "They hope to move out of transitional housing and into the mainstream. . .to break the poverty cycle.
"We must keep families together," added Hansel. "We must treat people with respect and dignity."
Littleton pointed out that there is a real need for transitional housing in Ogden and that society must find solutions to prevent homelessness. "The homeless are not the problem," she said. "It's the circumstances."
Littleton said that she hopes the program will help homeless people get their dignity back. "These people are very hard-working people," she explained. "I worry about the children. They act like little bag ladies."
Not only is YCC involved in providing a roof over homeless people's head, but they also offer financial assistance to resident's in need of finding apartments. She said that in January and February, YCC helped more than 100 people find suitable housing.
Littleton said a solution to the country's homeless problem is to find suitable housing for the working poor. She said money should be provided to them to help pay deposits on apartments, first and last month's rent and utilities.
She said that people locally can get involved and help out by providing financial assistance and donating household items like furniture, bedding, kitchen stuff and small appliances.