Giving Back: The Road Home

17 July 2014

Located in Salt Lake City,The Road Home is a system that helps individuals break free of the cycle that led them to homelessness. This non-profit agency provides emergency shelter, personalized case management, and basic needs for individuals and families.

We were really excited to donate bedding to families moving out of The Road Home’s emergency shelter they operate. Many of these families are starting over with nothing. As they transition from the shelter to their first new home, we were glad to provide a fundamental need and give them something to call their own.

Celeste Eggert, Director of Development, was able to give more information about their housing programs, the challenges individuals and The Road Home face, and ways that the community can get involved.

Q: What are the challenges individuals face that can lead to homelessness?

A: Things such as domestic violence, substance abuse, lack of education, physical health issues, lack of employment or underemployment, and more. Many of our clients face more than just a single challenge and often have a combination of many issues. Often times they have worn their welcome out with family and friends and as a last resort they turn to The Road Home for help.

Q: Your website states that you provide “comprehensive housing programs.” What does that entail?

A: We have a variety of housing options for our clients, one of which is our Rapid Rehousing Program for families. Through this program, we put together a deposit package and assist a family in finding a landlord who will rent to them. Transitional housing units are also available for clients, where we can help to subsidize the rent and provide case management for a determined period of time. We also work with local housing authorities and landlords to provide as many housing opportunities as possible for our clients.

One of our permanent housing options is Palmer Court, which was created for our chronically homeless population—the long-term shelter stayers. Palmer Court has supportive services on site, like case management, mental health counseling, and more.

Q:What are some unique challenges The Road Home faces?

A: I think one of the greatest challenges we have as an agency is fighting a lot of the stereotypes people have of the homeless. Many folks think all homeless individuals are mentally ill or substance abuse using. While it is true some of our clients do suffer from these afflictions, many do not.

Many people I speak to are often surprised to learn that families (both locally and nationally) are the fastest growing segment of the population. I think people are surprised to learn as well that 90% of the population we serve at The Road Home are homeless for 30 days or less and we never see them again. I think there is a lot of fear around homelessness because people don't know much about the topic.

Q: How can the community get involved?

A: There are many ways to get involved. Taking a tour of our facility is a great way to learn more about the programs and services we offer. You can also donate your time, in-kind items like old clothing or baby items, and of course money.

Monetary contributions play a vital role in keeping our doors open. As little as $9 moves one individual off the street and into our shelter for a night. We are very proud of the fact that only 6% of our overall budget goes towards administration and fundraising costs—the rests goes to our programs and services. We like to let our donors know these things so they can have confidence when they donate to our agency.

Q: What is the best part of your job?

A: The best part of my job is the people I meet every day, whether it be clients who are staying at the shelter, volunteers who give so generously of their time or the incredibly dedicated donors we have. Each of these groups inspires me daily and I feel so fortunate to live in such a generous community!

This outstanding organization has had a 4 star rating (highest rating) with Charity Navigator for the past eight years, an organization that evaluates agency financials, how well run the organization is, and more. Visit theroadhome.org to find donatable items, ways to volunteer, and to learn more about their organization.