Partner Highlight: Human Solutions

Innovative Changes’ partner Human Solutions “eliminates barriers to escaping poverty through emergency family shelter, job training, affordable housing, eviction prevention, and emergency household assistance.” Resident Services Specialist, Laura Lirette runs the community room at Arbor Glenn Apartments, one of the Human Solutions’ low-income housing complexes.

“Families often come to me with requests for energy or rent assistance,” Laura said. “They come short because of gaps in employment or because of illness.”

For Laura, Innovative Changes is a service that “families with steady income would benefit from for short term loans to help with rent or utilities. It’s a more secure way to provide assistance than the usual lottery system.”

Thus far, Laura has referred two families to Innovative Changes. One was a single mother of two, whose boyfriend lived with the family and helped with rent and other expenses. Before the end of July, he left and the family ended up losing the funds they counted on to pay rent. What’s more, they missed the deadline for rental assistance lotteries.

Laura said, “The resident came to me and I set up a meeting for her with Innovative Changes. They gave her a small loan and she was able to pay rent on time.”

Laura also helps mediate follow up communication between Innovative Changes and the people she referred. “Sometimes [Innovative Changes staff] have a hard time reaching the residents,” she said. “Because I’m stationed in their apartment complex, I can follow up more easily.”

The resident Laura helped recently got a 5-month extension on her stay at Arbor Glenn. “She’s been paying rent on time, and got a job lined up,” Laura said. “In this case, Innovative Changes worked out as a way to prevent eviction.”

(November 2010)

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