Alisha came to the Road Home looking for a place to stay. She and her two boys were living with her uncle while she worked on landing a job, an apartment, and personal independence for herself and her family. After a verbal altercation with her uncle, he asked her to leave for a couple of days. Alisha indicated she had nowhere else to turn, so she came to the shelter door.

While talking with the diversion specialist about her family, her friends, and her plans for the future, Alisha began to realize she had several housing options available to her. Alisha felt confident she could mend the relationship with her uncle and move back in on a permanent basis. Now instead of looking for long-term shelter, she only needed a place for a couple of days.

Alisha knew at least one of her other family members would allow her to stay with them for a few days. She had already saved enough money for a deposit and almost full first month’s rent on an apartment, even without a steady income. Furthermore, Alisha was sure she was close to securing steady employment as well. The diversion specialist and Alisha set goals to save the last bit of money needed, find her own place, and gain the personal independence and self-sufficiency that she needed and desired for her family.

During Alisha’s conversation with the diversion specialist, option of shelter stay was avoided. Instead of enduring the traumatic experience of shelter residency, Alisha was empowered by focusing on her past successes and her renewed confidence in her plans for the future.

At the Heart of Our Community are people like Alisha and programs like Utah Community Action’s diversion program that helps stop homelessness before it starts. In partnership with the Road Home and United Way 2-1-1, Utah Community Action administers the diversion strategy program. This service helps people seeking shelter by immediately arranging alternative housing options—diversion specialists are able to assist individuals and families more quickly to prevent homelessness. The program can also connect clients with services and financial assistance to help them return to permanent housing. Since the diversion program began in November, 2015, Utah Community Action diversion specialists have thus far successfully diverted 46% of assessed families from the shelter door.

Click here to sign up for email updates and follow the Heart of Our Community blog. Throughout August we will be showcasing inspiring client success stories from Utah Community Action Program, including Early Head Start/Head Start, Nutrition, Adult Education, Weatherization, HEAT, and Case Management and Housing.

It’s what makes our community great.

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