BLOG: Help for Stark County’s homeless population this holiday season

Categories: Blog

hands-house-760x425In November 2016, the Homeless Hotline received 1,396 calls. As of last month, the total number of calls to the hotline for the year was 14,809.

Many people ask, who calls the Homeless Hotline? We receive mainly calls from singles and families in need of help. The common need is affordable housing. The Stark County Homeless Hotline (330-452-4363) operates 24 hours per day, referring callers to appropriate shelters and other programs for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness after conducting an initial assessment interview. The Hotline maintains a current listing of available shelter beds throughout Stark County, and works with mental health agencies, hospitals, law enforcement, alcohol and drug treatment centers and the courts to assist clients in need of shelter, homeless prevention services or other social service supports.

What agencies offer shelter and housing for the homeless? Get to know services agencies working to end homelessness in our community. Take a look at the Stark County’s Providers of Shelter and Housing for the Homeless » table to find out more about agencies and services.

What types of services are available? While the common need we see is affordable housing, one size does not fit all when it comes to helping people. A few types of homeless and housing services available are: 

  • Emergency Shelter Any facility with overnight sleeping accommodations with the primary purpose to provide temporary shelter for the homeless (including specific populations of homeless persons)
  • Rapid Re-Housing Rental housing search assistance, limited-time financial assistance, case management and other services to help homeless families and individuals achieve sufficient independence to maintain their housing
  • Permanent Supportive Housing Community-based housing and supportive services for homeless individuals and families with long-term disabilities that substantially impede their ability to live independently
  • Affordable Housing Permanent housing in which the rent is below market rates and/or is based on the tenant’s income
  • Homeless Prevention Short-term help for individuals and families who are at serious risk of becoming homeless, providing financial assistance and support to resolve temporary housing crises

How can I help? If you would like more information about the Homeless Hotline or agencies offering homeless services, visit our Homeless Continuum of Care of Stark County (HCCSC) » website. If you are interested in volunteering with agencies helping Stark County’s homeless, please call the Homeless Hotline at 330-452-4363 to learn more.

About Teresa Ponchak

Teresa Ponchak serves as the Database Phone Center Supervisor for the Homeless Hotline. She is a Muskingum University graduate with a degree in psychology. She has over 35 years experience working in social services. She has worked with foster care, child protective services and juvenile probation as a case worker as well as an administrator in the State of Florida. After returning to Ohio, she began working with the homeless and believes everyone deserves a home.