If you are facing homelessness, you are not alone. Homeless shelters and related service providers are experiencing their highest demands for services in decades. Thousands of Idaho households are facing difficulty making ends meet. Job loss; medical bills; predatory lending and bad credit; divorce, abuse or abandonment threaten the housing stability of Idahoans from all walks of life.
No one chooses to be homeless, but when times are tough it's important to take steps to protect your own and your family's health and safety. Idaho is fortunate to have many well-run shelters in larger cities and towns, and other types of assistance in rural communities. Beyond shelter and food, providers can help get families back on the road to permanent housing, and provide support and information to move families back to self-reliance and stability. Here are some things to keep in mind as you seek help.
High demand. Shelters and transitional housing providers throughout Idaho often have waiting lists, serve clients on a first-come, first served basis, and cannot provide same-day service. Get on local waiting lists, even though a shelter may not be your first choice; it's like the lottery . . . you can't win if you don't play.
Planning ahead. When possible, don't wait until you or your family are actually on the street to contact a local shelter. At the first indication that your housing is threatened [unexpected loss of income, increase in expenses or other problem], contact the nearest provider to find out how and where to apply for services.
Be resourceful. In some communities, local governments maintain lists of community resources at the City Clerk's office or County Welfare office, while local church and civic organizations may be aware of other types of assistance available.
Patience and respect. Remember many shelters and service providers are staffed by volunteers doing their best to help dozens of people every day. They are frustrated by the lack of resources, too.