Community Networks (CNI) came to the Jefferson County Partnership for Affordable Housing in 2013 to request assistance in providing local homeless individuals and families with 12 units of permanent supportive housing in Jefferson County. The Partnership quickly stepped up and became the first of several organizations to assist CNI in obtaining the $15,000 of matching cash funds required to bring over $241,000 in Housing and Urban Development funding into the community. Without hesitation, the Partnership pledged $10,000 to get the ball rolling.
With that first pledge, CNI was able to put together a $15,000 funding package, with additional contributions from the City of Charles Town, BB&T Bank, and the Eastern WV Community Foundation. With the matching funds in place, CNI has been able to open the Jefferson County Leasing Project, which utilizes scattered site 1, 2, and 3 bedroom leased units to house low-income homeless households, each with at least one documented disabled adult member. The rentals were provided by landlords who agreed to participate in the program.
In addition to cash assistance, other community leaders, including local churches, private businesses, and individuals are providing in-kind donations of furnishings, household supplies, cleaning supplies, and linens to outfit the units for their new tenants.
Eligible Jefferson County residents are referred to the program by the Cold Weather Shelter, the Step-Up Program, Community Networks/Bethany House Emergency Shelter, the Veterans Administration, and Jefferson County Community Ministries.
Program participants pay 30% of their gross income as their portion of the monthly rent. This helps to generate the responsibility for budgeting and money management that is necessary to maintain permanent housing.
The program’s Placement Housing Counselor meets frequently with each participant to offer support, encouragement, and guidance as each individual strives to increase their income and further stabilize their permanent housing situation. Residents of the program participate in weekly case management meetings, design an action plan, address goals, including employment, job skills development, life skills, education, and budgeting, and receive referrals to available resources such as mental health and/or substance abuse services.
For program information, contact Glenda Helman at (304) 263-3510, X19; for eligibility information, contact Bonnie Strayer at (304) 724-1777.