Transitional Housing Center helping or hurting? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Transitional Housing Center helping or hurting?

May 2, 2003

Albany-- For fifteen families, the Crossroads Transitional Housing Program is the best chance to get a fresh start. Most everyone enrolled is homeless.

The families meet stringent requirements to enter the program, and in return get low cost housing, job or education placement, and counseling. But, in the seven months Crossroads has been open, more people are returning to the streets than completing the program.

Shedrika Johnson moved into her one bedroom apartment two months ago--and she's already moving out, "I shocked me because I thought this would help me get on my foot, go to school, take care of my kid, then I could go on my own."

When Johnson moved into Crossroads, she was working towards her GED--a requirement to live here. Since then she lost her child care--so she can't go to school. Now, she's been told she has until May 6th to re enroll in school or she's out of the program, "But they promised me two years, and I got two months. I feel I didn't get any help. I feel they lied to society, because that's what they did."

"Our first step is not to evict, our first step is to call families in and find out what's going on you didn't pay rent, not in school, not working, what's going on." Dr. Wendy Coleman runs Crossroads--she says there are successes--pointing out two families that have graduated, moved out and are supporting themselves, "You have to realize the failures might overwhelm successes at the beginning, but if you are in it for the long haul you are in it for the long haul."

And the failures are overwhelming the successes--right now five families are leaving--that's nearly half of those enrolled. Dr. Wendy Coleman says they take several steps to try to help out struggling families before they are terminated from the program. Families can also appeal the termination. Federal, state, and local grants pay for Crossroads, which is operated by First Monumental Faith Community Outreach Center.

Posted at 7:00 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com