Take The Next Step
Aisha Sial | Published on 9/6/2021
Take The Next Step (TTNS) offers friendship, help, and hope to neighbors in need in East Snohomish County. They give emergency food, gas cards, clothing vouchers, and hygiene supplies to unhoused children, youth, and families with children. They have helped repair cars and pay medical bills. TTNS assists people in navigating Coordinated Entry, the gateway to housing assistance programs. However, too often this is a hopeless process because too few housing units exist, especially for low-income workers, people with special needs, and the elderly.
TTNS has experienced that keeping people in their homes is often much easier and cheaper than re-housing:
• Throughout the pandemic, TTNS has worked with 65 families representing 248 individuals to provide $116,000 in financial assistance to help keep families in their homes, generally rental payments. Funding came through the Federal CARES Act, FEMA emergency shelter funds, Monroe city CARES funds, and its own internal assistance funds.
• TTNS also helps pay utilities - nearly $70,000 in 279 payments for 82 non-duplicated families representing 345 individuals. Though public utilities will not disconnect any household during the pandemic, in normal times unpaid utility bills lead to disconnects which can, and often lead to evictions. TTNS expects that as pandemic moratoriums expire, utility past due amounts will again increase the problem of evictions.
TTNS works to educate and impact public policy. Beyond doing her job as the TTNS Community Outreach Coordinator, Sarah Lunstrum volunteers in city governance as an advocate for broad-based solutions.
Contact TTNS to discover your own opportunities to make a positive difference in the current crisis of children growing up unhoused. Consult www.ttns.org or call 360.794.1022. Then, help with delivering supplies or listen to a child read at Kidz Club; learn of many other ways to actively support the work of TTNS in Monroe.