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Housing and Essential Needs: A story from Snohomish

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One of the things we’ve been talking a lot about is the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program, which was the replacement for the Disability Lifeline. It’s a core safety-net program that helps ensure that temporary disabilities don’t force people onto the streets by providing access to some of life’s most basic household and sanitary needs.

I know sometimes that with all the debates around the different budgets, and which chamber included which programs and for how much, the actual people that depend on these programs and these stories can get lost in the shuffle. That's why I wanted to take a second and share this story, which was sent to us by a service provider in Snohomish County:

[My client] was literally homeless when she applied to the HEN program. She had been sleeping outside in her car the night before she applied for assistance. She had run out of options for people to stay with, as no one could afford to support her or allow her to stay with them long term. Everyone she knew was struggling from the bad economy and she literally had no supports or financial resources. This client had experienced much grief and loss over the last few years and developed some mental health problems that were debilitating. She lost her husband a few years before and her son within the last year. She had been a stay at home mother throughout her marriage and came out a widow with limited job skills.

This woman experienced homelessness more than 4 times over the last few years and it had really become difficult to secure and maintain housing. She was unable to secure housing without the HEN rental assistance and cried when she got approved for HEN, knowing that she would be able to get housing. She located and identified a landlord that would rent to her and got moved in right away and had no more nights of sleeping outside. She was also able to access the essential needs part of the program as well, which was a great help since she was homeless. 

If you haven’t already, take a second to send a message to your Senator and ask them to match the House’s allocation for the Housing and Essential Needs Program (Click here for the Action Alert). 

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