Larry Hajdasz was once homeless, but was fortunate enough to seek out the services he needed to get himself off the street. Now he’s working for the Municipal Housing Authority. His job is to try and connect with the homeless population.
"One of the things they asked me was if I’d be willing to go look under bridges for homeless people, and I said I certainly would. Having experienced that myself, I would have no problem going out and trying to be helpful to others that are still suffering from that."
Not everyone is living under bridges, or out on the streets. Larry tells us there are a number of people that fit the criteria of homeless, but you’d probably never even know it.
"I know people that are working that are homeless, and can’t afford to get into their own apartment. I know people that are on disability, and they’re getting money form Social Security, but again they can’t afford to get into a house."
Once Larry makes a connection he then refers them to people like Kari Johnson. She's the Coordinated Entry Specialist for United Way working with a number agencies to finding these individuals suitable housing, and other services that would help them transition off the street.
"I work with homeless individuals in the community to help them identify the best solution to their homelessness. I help them to get into permanent housing, and assist them with linking up with appropriate agencies."
One of the agencies that provides housing is the Municipal Housing Authority.
"Housing first. Housing is the platform upon which we can make significant improvements in a person’s life."
John Furman believes housing is the first step, but he wants to make sure there are solutions in place to prevent homelessness from re-occurring.
"Where we help homeless people, and people in need, to find jobs. We also do employment readiness classes in which we teach people to do a resume. How to properly interview for a job. How to prepare for a career. Our goal is economic opportunity. Helping people help themselves."
Tune in on Wednesday to find out why having a roof over your head isn’t necessarily a suitable living environment, and how the United Way is helping to solve housing problems.