Human Impact

Stable housing is the foundation for personal growth

For homeless men, women, and children, the common cold quickly becomes pneumonia. Chronic diseases are left untreated due to lack of access to standard medical treatment and medication. Jobs cannot be obtained due to a lack of contact information or necessary documentation. The working poor, those individuals with entry-level jobs, have trouble being reliable employees due to housing instability. Basic living becomes a constant crisis. Poverty becomes the norm rather than an unusual occurrence.

CaringWorks’ residents simply need a hand up, not a hand out. They are working to regain their place in society and to achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. They are not looking for a band aid—they are ready to do the hard work that it takes to climb out of the canyon of homelessness. But, like all of us at some point in our lives, they need some support. It may be subsidized housing or access to food and clothing. It may be medical care. It may be help to secure a job. CaringWorks provides individualized solutions. The result: over 90% of our residents are still housed, either with us or in an even better housing situation, one year after joining the program.

The Ripple Effect:

What About the Children?

According to Childtrends.org, “Children without stable homes are more than twice as likely as others to repeat a school grade, be expelled or suspended, or drop out of high school. A quarter or more of homeless children have witnessed violence, and more than half have problems with anxiety and depression. Family homelessness may result in children’s separation from their parents — either because children are formally placed in foster care, or because parents leave children in the care of relatives and friends.”

The Atlanta Children’s Center states that there are approximately 2,500 homeless children in Atlanta on any given night.

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homeless children in Atlanta on any given night

Housing is Healthcare

The role of housing to healthcare is dramatic. Nothing demonstrates that more simply than a look at mortality rates. According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council:

The average age of death of homeless persons is about 50 years, the age at which Americans commonly died in 1900. Today, non-homeless Americans can expect to live to age 78.

For every age group, homeless persons are three times more likely to die than the general population. Middle-aged homeless men and young homeless women are at particularly increased risk.

Homeless people suffer the same illnesses experienced by people with homes, but at rates three to six times higher. This includes potentially lethal communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and influenza, as well as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

The New England Journal of Medicine states, “The role of social determinants of health, and the business case for addressing them, is immediately clear when it comes to homelessness and housing. The 1.5 million Americans who experience homelessness in any given year face numerous health risks and are disproportionately represented among the highest users of costly hospital-based acute care. Placing people who are homeless in supportive housing — affordable housing paired with supportive services such as on-site case management and referrals to community-based services — can lead to improved health, reduced hospital use, and decreased health care costs, especially when frequent users of health services are targeted. These benefits add to the undeniable human benefit of moving people from homelessness into housing.” 1

1 Kelly M. Doran, M.D., M.H.S., Elizabeth J. Misa, M.P.A., and Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H. "Housing as Health Care — New York's Boundary-Crossing Experiment." New England Journal of Medicine. December 19, 2014.

Housing is Job Stability

Getting to work can be difficult for any of us. It is estimated that 44% of people facing homelessness have jobs (National Coalition for the Homelessness - NCH). 

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of people facing homelessness have jobs

However, imagine trying to build your career after sleeping in your car, getting inadequate and interrupted sleep, having to return to your home by a certain time to be assured a bed, or having to separate from your family or children to be able to even have a place to sleep. The odds of success would not be in your favor.

For the individuals who are not yet employed, the obstacles to job hunting can quickly become insurmountable. They include:

Lack of access to transportation

Bad credit

Missing identification documents

Low educational attainment levels

Criminal histories

Having young children with no access to child care

Limited or no past work experience or marketable job skills

Mental health or substance abuse problems

Chronic health problems or disability

There is dignity in a paycheck. Steady, sustainable housing changes employment opportunities drastically, enabling individuals to reach their goal of self-sufficiency.

Changed Lives

Let some of our clients tell you about their experience.

Program: Imperial

Denise H.

Denise, a Florida native, moved to Atlanta in 2015 to escape a tumultuous situation. “I removed myself from a toxic relationship. He told me to quit my job so I was reliant on food stamps. Once things got ugly, I had just enough money to pack up and go. I never told him where I was going or even that I was leaving. I booked a one way flight to Atlanta and never looked back. But once I got here I realized I didn’t have anywhere to go,” said Denise.

Denise wandered from place to place, train station to train station, and even experienced a brief stint staying at the airport until airport staff caught on. She stated, “I was never caught up in drugs or alcohol, I just didn’t have enough money.”

“After Peachtree & Pine [closed], I was able to move to City of Refuge. They had peer support and I was able to have a case manager. She helped me find CaringWorks. I knew I wanted to go to Imperial — everyone did. It was close to the food pantry, the library, and a church. It was much nicer than anywhere I had been.”

We asked Denise why she wanted to go to the CaringWorks Imperial program. She said, “They give people hope. It’s not a one-size-fits-all deal either. They take the time to get to know you and see what works best for you.” She added, “I feel more safe and comfortable. I do not have to worry about losing my housing and I am able to look forward to the future. I also have a case manager here who makes sure I stay on track.”

Denise also wanted to offer hope to people struggling with homelessness. She said, “Homelessness is just a season in one’s life. It does not depict their future. You have to learn how to adjust. When the opportunities present themselves, you have to be prepared to look forward, and not back. It’s not about where you begin, but where you end up.”

Denise Harrison

Help everyone in our Atlanta Community reach their potential