Helping People Change Direction Starts with Finding Them a Home

Portrait of Krista Kidney - Director of Homelessness and Housing Services

Meeting People Where They’re At

At OneEighty, we understand that safe, affordable housing helps to provide a sense of security and stability that is often lacking in the lives of those struggling with substance use. These are people who are living in crisis every day – worried about how they are going to eat and where they are going to sleep. Homelessness and unstable housing often contribute to feelings of hopelessness and despair – increasing a client’s risk of relapse. “We’re working with what we call a Housing First philosophy. It’s a nationwide approach to housing that says you meet the person where they’re at, you house them, and then you stabilize them. What we’re doing with street outreach mostly is building that relationship,” explained Krista Kidney, OneEighty’s Director of Homelessness and Housing Services.

Housing First Supports Basic Needs First

The Housing First model is based on the principle that housing is a fundamental human right and that people are better able to address other issues, such as substance use disorders, when they have safe and stable housing. This approach involves providing individuals experiencing homelessness with a safe and stable place to live, without requiring them to meet certain preconditions, such as achieving sobriety or completing treatment. Once an individual is housed, they are provided with ongoing support and services to help them maintain their housing, including case management, counseling, peer support, and other integrative services that are tailored to their individual needs. “A lot of times we are housing people that are still in active addiction and/or have untreated mental health issues, but we get them housed and then work from that foundation,” Krista offered. “It’s really about building the relationship to show them, we’re here, we’re willing to help you, we’re trustworthy, and when you’re ready, we’ll help you access those things that you need. They don’t need to engage in services before we talk about housing.”

OneEighty Advocates for the Homeless

It’s not uncommon for substance use clients to face significant challenges related to housing, including discrimination and stigma from landlords and neighbors, legal and financial issues, and difficulties with finding housing that is safe and supportive for individuals in recovery. Without appropriate housing, individuals may be forced to live in unsafe or unsupportive environments – causing undue stress and potentially increasing their risk of relapse. Krista explained that her department at OneEighty works with area landlords. “We guide our clients to those landlords that we know will accept somebody with a bad credit history or criminal record in their background,” Krista offered. “We’ll even do some of the calling for them. We can’t be a reference for them, but we do advocate for them.”

“Our street outreach worker goes into the community and spends her time at the meal sites that homeless individuals frequent – the Homeless Day Center that exists in Wooster, encampments and the warming center, the library, wherever they might be during the day. The whole goal of the street outreach service is obviously housing in the end,” Krista explained. “First, her work is getting homeless individuals to engage in services, helping them complete housing assistance applications, assisting them in meeting basic needs, and introducing health care services.” Supportive services may include case management, counseling, job training, and other types of support that can help clients with substance use disorders build the skills and resources they need to maintain recovery over the long term. These services can also help individuals to address the underlying issues that may have contributed to their substance use, such as mental health problems or trauma. “We collaborate with lots of community organizations and agencies,” Krista added.

OneEighty Housing and Supportive Services Partners:

People to People Ministries, 330-262-1662

Salvation Army Wooster Corps, 330-264-4704

The Wayne County Housing Coalition

The Wooster Homelessness Task Force

Trinity United Church of Christ, 330-264-9250

Viola Startzman Clinic, 330-262-2500

From Homeless to Giving Back Hope

Krista shared an account of one OneEighty older gentleman who was living in a stairwell of a local church for the better part of six years. He would come in and use the severe weather warming center on frigid nights in the wintertime, but he never wanted to apply for housing. He and his brother had inherited a home from their parents, but after a legal battle, the brother received the full estate. So, this man felt wronged and was pretty jaded with the system. When this man became ill with pneumonia, about a year ago, he visited all the local meal sites. “We would see him at the Day Center and places like that. Then, all of a sudden, he went missing,” Krista retold. “I found him in the stairwell, very sick and drenched. It was raining and only 40 degrees that morning. He hadn’t eaten in days. We were able to convince him, either you’re coming with us, or we’re calling the squad. That’s how we were able to convince him right then to get the medical care he needed and then we got him into the shelter.”

Later, OneEighty found him a landlord. He was able to get a housing voucher from Wayne Metropolitan Housing Authority. Now, he has a long-term subsidy voucher. As it turns out, the landlord’s father went to high school with this gentleman. He hadn’t seen a doctor in about a decade. Today, this man also has regular medical care and he’s much healthier. “My favorite part of the story is that throughout all of those years of homelessness, every Friday he went and volunteered at what’s called Wooster Hope Center, which is a food pantry and meal distribution site,” Krista recounted. “That’s really something. Throughout all those years of homelessness, he went every Friday and volunteered. And he still continues to volunteer today.”

We’re here to support you

We help people change direction with programs for addiction, domestic violence, rape crisis, mental health, housing, and prevention and education. At OneEighty, we actively support an evidence-based approach to sustainable recovery from trauma and addiction – restoring dignity and purpose, reimagining potential, and rebuilding lives. In addition to Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), OneEighty offers counseling programs, intensive addiction treatment programs, group addiction treatment, residential services, recovery housing, and peer recovery.

OneEighty Resources

If you need Housing and Support please call us today at 330-264-8498 For other resources, click the links below:

Recovery Coaching

Addiction & Substance Use

Residential Treatment

Mental Health Counseling

Community Relations & Prevention

Substance Use Treatment Navigator Hotline

Safe at Home Program

Intimate Partner & Domestic Violence booklet (Wayne County)

Self-Help Legal Manual

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