By Sam Hendrian
The charitable organization Solutions For Change strives to end family homelessness in North County and beyond. Now with a new location in Escondido, struggling families are being housed and helped up onto their feet.
Solutions For Change originated in Vista, California 17 years ago. Their mission is to solve family homelessness by helping parents become financially stable and independent. This mission is accomplished one family at a time and takes the form of a three-step program lasting about 1,000 days. The first step is moving a family off the streets and into a temporary shelter, which is currently located solely in Vista. The adults of the family are given assistance with finding a job, overcoming addictions, and finding schooling for the kids.
The second step of the program is moving a family from the temporary shelter to transitional housing, which is also located primarily in Vista. It is here that the adults and children are further assisted with their individual health-related, emotional, and social needs. Once financial stability and independence is established, the family then moves onto the third step. The family finds a house or apartment complex that can become their permanent residence. Solutions For Change offers places in their apartment complexes, which are located in Escondido, Oceanside, and Carlsbad. Houses sponsored by the organization are also spread throughout North County.
Located at 1560 South Escondido Boulevard, the Escondido location consists of 33 apartments of two different sizes, 800 and 1,100 square feet, to accommodate both small and large families. The LEED-certified buildings are environmentally friendly and sustainable. They include amenities such as a playground and a computer room, with additions, like a restaurant, still being implemented. A case manager is available on-site, and one-on-one counseling is also offered to residents. Rent is determined based on the amount of income that a family is making. While families can stay as long as they’d like, several choose to eventually move out into other housing. Some graduates of the program even choose to come back and work for the organization.
Megan Powers, Communications Manager and Grant Writer stressed that Solutions For Change offers far more than just housing. It offers a variety of classes and services related to job placement, mental health, addiction, parenting, and school. While there are currently 33 full-time employees and over 2,000 volunteers, they desire to expand beyond North County in the coming years. Riverside and Irvine are potential locations for the California expansion, while Colorado is being scouted for the next branch. Funding is collected from the city and any other individual donors.
Solutions For Change provides volunteer opportunities for people of all ages. Child care help is always needed at every location. Volunteers can also assist with landscape at the organization-sponsored houses, decorate houses during the winter holidays, and make dinners at the main Vista branch’s kitchen. Anyone interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities can email Kimberly Skates at email@example.com.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Sperlling.