Anawim Housing
Monthly E-Newsletter | January 2022

First Things First

First things first… Build the foundation.

Welcome to the first Anawim E-newsletter of the year. It’s not original to discuss foundational topics or origin stories in the New Year, and yet it feels applicable and essential to return to the Why of what we do at Anawim Housing. 

For 35 years, Anawim Housing has been a local leader in affordable housing- working tirelessly to end homelessness and ensure the most vulnerable in our community have a safe place to call home. We know having a safe, stable and affordable place to call home is foundational for growing children and families. Families who aren’t overly rent burdened experience less stress and have more time to engage in life affirming activities. Children with stable housing are sick less and have better educational outcomes. Housing is the building block for their brighter future.
Individuals who are chronically homeless – who don’t have a safe and stable place to live- can’t address health or mental health needs, they are disconnected from family supports and utilize higher cost emergency services than those who have permanent supportive housing. After being placed in our permanent housing, Anawim supports life transformations. Program managers meet each person where they are at, providing customized support and utilizing proven methods to help them overcome their barriers. With this support they are able to create their versions of a happy and healthy life.

Anawim Housing operates our Permanent Supportive Housing programs under the Housing First model. The core belief of Housing First is that everyone is housing-ready. Removing barriers to housing is effective in rapidly placing people into housing. Programs which serve people experiencing homelessness need to offer flexible and responsive services. In Housing First, people experiencing homelessness do not have to earn their housing. This differs from the old service model of training people to become “housing ready” that proved ineffective and was ultimately abandoned by HUD and service providers. As Anawim Housing has become more committed to Housing First fidelity, our success rates of helping people maintain housing stability have greatly increased. Program managers meet frequently to discuss how to reduce barriers and employ harm reduction strategies in order to support our tenants in housing. Meeting people where they are at in their lives and partnering with them to achieve goals seems to be such an easy idea, but commitment to this idea and infusing it throughout the organization is a real paradigm shift. 

We believe every person deserves a safe place to call home. We believe housing is healthcare. We believe housing is a human right. We know Housing ends Homelessness.

A Closer Look:
Jeremy Orcutt
What's your position and how long have you been with Anawim Housing?
Jeremy Orcutt, Director of Programs and Services, and I have been with Anawim Housing for a little over four years.
Why were you interested in working for Anawim Housing?
When I moved here from California back in 2017, I started looking for work in the arena of Substance Use Treatment. After several interviews with treatment centers, I was not finding a good fit. I saw a posting online for a Housing Case Manager and applied. I thought it was working for the county or state but it turned out to be Anawim Housing. I applied because I thought it would be an interesting change from doing treatment in a clinical setting. Turns out it has been far more interesting.
What gets you out of bed in the morning and ready to work?
Knowing that what we do here is making a difference in people’s lives as well as their families lives. We just had a tenant pass away this month. His family thanked us for housing him because it gave them peace of mind knowing where he was and that they could visit him. They also stated that we afforded him the opportunity to die on his terms and with dignity. Another great thing about Anawim is there is always a possibility of creating a new program like ReNew Crew or buying a hotel. I do this to set an example to my daughters that the world is rough and can be scary but we can have a part in making it better. 
Tell us some of the things you do daily.
I get to meet with people who are referred to us and explain the program. We hold meetings with tenants who are struggling and help come up with solutions that will keep them in the program. I work with landlords to find new units, maintain existing units, and strengthening those relationships. I get to have meetings to work on creative solutions to help our tenants in a less than perfect system. I collaborate with the team to come up with approaches to problems our tenants face. Every day is different which is cool.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
The problem solving and collaboration with my team. I also like finding the gaps in services for our tenants and then figure out how we can bridge those gaps.
What are some misconceptions about your job or the company that you would want to clear up?
A common misinterpretation is that the transition from homelessness to being housed is easy. The transition for some of tenants is incredibly hard as it is an adjustment to their survival instincts, rules of interacting with others, and ability to feel safe.
Homelessness MYTHBUSTERS
They made 'bad choices' that led them to become homeless.
The major cause of homelessness is the worsening of affordable housing. Median home values have more than double between 1999 and 2019.

Most people experiencing homelessness are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Studies show only 20% to 40% of people who are homeless have a substance abuse issue. Normally, abuse is rarely the cause of homelessness but rather something that starts AFTER becoming homeless.

Homeless people are lazy and do not want to work.
A significant portion of homeless people do have jobs, they just can't afford to pay rent. Others find it difficult to have a job when they do not have a permanent address, clean clothes, no where to shower, and the overall stigma of being homeless.
Homelessness cannot be fixed.
There is a no-size-fits-all solution when it comes to ending homelessness. However, community responsibility can make a huge impact. By providing affordable housing, stability, and wraparound services, everyone is able to help lower the percentage of homelessness.
Interested in helping us to end homelessness?
Anawim Housing develops stable homes and strengthens communities