“I have lived at Alaska Street for five years. Caritas is my home and where I plan to stay. It is the first place I have lived in a long time that has been safe, clean and affordable. I have always worked, but two months ago, my shift was cut. If I lost my room I would be homeless.”
— Brian, Alaska Street resident
Homelessness Prevention Fund
Sometimes it is not enough to get someone into affordable housing. Sometimes, we need to help them keep that housing.
Caritas’ Homelessness Prevention Program supports the organization’s overall mission of creating affordable housing for people who cannot earn a living wage in the Boston area with its high cost of housing. Many of our residents work, but at low-paying jobs. Other residents are on disability or Social Security. Without the availability of affordable housing, these people would have few housing options other than a shelter or the streets. As it is, they are still vulnerable. A few weeks of missed work due to unemployment or illness, or an unexpected expense, means they have to choose between eating and paying their rent. The Homelessness Prevention Program helps keep tenants in their homes by providing emergency funds to cover their rent during a temporary financial crisis.
Being on a very low or fixed income means not having the luxury of being able to save money for periods of underemployment, unemployment or unexpected emergency bills. At Caritas, we believe that our obligation is not just to create, provide and maintain affordable housing. We believe we must take into consideration the challenges and obstacles that our residents face. For that reason, we provide a safety net so that responsible people do not lose their housing due to circumstances beyond their control. Our name means “charity”—an act of kindness and understanding toward others. If we started the eviction process every time one of our residents missed a rent payment, we would belie our name and fail at our mission.
By making a contribution to the Homelessness Prevention Program, you are helping people stay in their homes during a setback in their lives. At a time when people are facing uncertainty and stress in other areas of their lives, the last thing they need is to fear losing the roof over their heads. A minor crisis could turn into a downward spiral of events from which it might be difficult to recover. Our 30-year history of providing affordable housing—and compassion—has taught us that most people do not want a handout, nor do they abuse the help we provide. Rather, they are very grateful and feel cared for and supported. Residents understand that their housing costs money, and that during a crisis their missed rent is being paid by Caritas’ generous supporters. Our experience is that the Homelessness Prevention Program does not encourage idleness or dependence. It expresses good will, and at Caritas we believe that goodwill is contagious.