Although homelessness across America has been decreasing since 2010, New York City has witnessed an opposite trend. From 2007 to 2018, the state has witnessed a staggering 47% increase in homelessness. That’s where a grassroots program called Homebase steps in.
Founded in 2004, Homebase is seeking to get ahead of the homeless problem by merging knowledge of the community’s services with state funds to help those in danger of becoming homeless before they lose a home or other living arrangements.
The neighborhood-based program started out small, but now commands a $53 million budget and helps about 29,600 households annually. With 26 locations in New York’s five boroughs, Homebase has become a helping hand that stretches across the city. They provide any kind of assistance people need to keep their homes: cash for rent; cash advances for utilities; lawyers to solve disputes with landlords and fight evictions; and coaching and training for jobs and job-hunt assistance.
Jamilah Seye, a 54-year-old mother of two teenagers who lost her job due to health issues, has been battling against eviction for years. Now, with Homebase’s support, Seye and her two teenagers were able to stay in their home. Seye described the help from Homebase as comforting and reassuring. She emphasized the importance of this approach towards people who lack confidence and find themselves in such a delicate situation.
This says a lot about how we should value public programs like Homebase; not only should we value what a social program achieves on paper, but also what it provides to people in everyday life—such as confidence and support in times of trouble.