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May 13, 2016

Dear Friend,

We are reaching out to you as a valued supporter of Save the Family to update you about news reports this week detailing dramatic Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) cuts to transitional housing programs serving the homeless in Maricopa County.

By way of background, for several years, many local non-profit homeless providers, including Save the Family, have relied on HUD funding for housing and supportive services that homeless individuals and families need to achieve self-sufficiency.  These include transitional and permanent supportive housing, and most recently, rapid re-housing.

Local HUD offices and federal HUD agencies tracked costs and success rates for each program using local and regional data to measure outcomes and prioritize limited allocations of federal dollars.  As early as 2008, Save the Family and other transitional housing providers were made aware that transitional HUD funding would eventually come into question. Changes in how our country addresses ending homelessness were also discussed.  As a result, funding was directed to programs HUD felt were the most cost effective and successful.

This year, the local Continuum of Care agency that compiles, ranks and submits applications to HUD recommended average cuts of 25% to transitional housing programs.  Unfortunately and unexpectedly, HUD decided to cut the programs by 100%.

Thankfully, in 2014, Save the Family made the strategic and tactical decision to reallocate our HUD- funded transitional units to rapid re-housing, a process completed ahead of the latest round of cuts.

The good news is twofold: we were not directly impacted by the funding cut to transitional housing and our remaining 25 transitional housing units are not financially dependent on HUD dollars.  The primary source of funding for these units is your personal contributions.

The bad news is that, despite our forward-thinking approach to this issue, funding for rapid re-housing carries a matching-funds requirement three times higher than for transitional housing.

Save the Family is the East Valley’s oldest and largest provider of rapid re-housing, which is considered by HUD a form of permanent housing.  With rapid re-housing, clients are the leaseholders and can build or rebuild their credit.  We provide a step-down rental subsidy, utility assistance and supportive services to help them achieve stability.  With transitional housing, clients live in a Save the Family owned unit, and are consequently not the leaseholders.  We pay all housing expenses except 30 percent of their adjusted gross income as they gain employment and we provide the supportive services.

Unfortunately, eliminating federal HUD funding for seven of our community partners will impact between 100-200 families who will face unexpected pressure to find alternatives for their current transitional housing or end up homeless.

We are preparing for increased demands for our standard-setting programs and services, which exceed national standards.  In fact, 80% of our families move to independent housing within 10 months of entering our program.  This is real impact.

We remain committed to offering the most appropriate housing options for our families through transitional and rapid re-housing programs.  In addition, we provide supportive services to tenants living in our affordable housing affiliate’s (ARM) affordable and permanent supportive housing programs.

We’ve been gearing up for this change and are prepared to serve more families in the coming year. With that being said, your continued support is needed now more than ever.

With your ongoing support, we have been able to continue our mission and prepare for the current changes with the long-term goal of reducing our reliance on government funding.

We sincerely hope you will stand together with us in this time of great uncertainty for so many formerly homeless families through a donation at whatever amount you are comfortable with.  As a side note, the Qualifying Charitable Organization Tax Credit was just increased from $200 to $400 annually for individuals or heads of households and from $400 to $800 for married couples filing jointly.  Please consider designating you tax credit donation this year to Save the Family.

We are truly grateful to you.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me at 480.898.0228 ext. 212 or jtaylor@nullsavethefamily.org if you have questions.

Sincerely,

 

Jacki Taylor, CEO