Back in March I blogged about the exciting start of the 90 Day Housing Challenge in Georgia. As part of the challenge, 18 organizations across Georgia vowed to move as many families, individuals, and youth as possible from homelessness to homes over the course of 90 days. Monday, June 12 marked the end of the challenge. Today I am excited to announce that 451 households have moved into permanent housing as a result of these shelters rising to the “Challenge.”
The emergency shelters who participated received no new resources or funds to help them meet their goals. Instead, they were creative and leveraged existing resources and community support to help their shelter residents exit to permanent housing. Many shelters changed the messaging in their shelter to focus more on housing and found creative ways to celebrate each person who left shelter for housing. Some forged new partnerships with landlords in their community to help unlock more housing options for their clients. One shelter was even featured on a local radio station to help leverage support for the Challenge in the community. And most excitingly, one shelter is continuing the Challenge, and will set another bold, 90 goal for themselves to work towards.
Running an emergency shelter is hard work! While we have crossed the finish line, the Challenge is not really over. Newly homeless households entering shelter will need help finding housing. The lessons learned through the Challenge will allow these shelters to continue to build on this important accomplishment.
There is something about a Challenge that brings out the best in all of us. The real winners in all of this are the 451 homeless families, individuals, and youth who are home as a result of the challenge. Well done Georgia!