More help for the homeless

HANCOCK – When faced with a homeless situation, most people know of the places to turn to for help – Department of Human Services, The Salvation Army to name a few. But Child and Family Services is an agency that may not be as well known but can be just as helpful for those who find themselves down on their luck.

Homeless Services Case Manager Romana Vosecky is one of the contact people for Child and Family Services of the Upper Peninsula, Inc. and can help those in need of shelter.

According to Vosecky, to qualify for services a person must be homeless and should be able to provide documentation proving so. Documentation can be an eviction notice, which is sufficient for receiving help.

“Depending on their circumstances, we might be able to cover part of their security deposit or their first month’s rent,” Vosecky said. “It depends on where they are at income-wise and how soon they have to be out of their place.”

The amount of money Child and Family Services can give is about $400.

But for someone who needs immediate shelter, Child and Family Services is unable to help and does not offer hotel vouchers.

However, it does have the resources to help someone locate housing.

“We have job openings and housing booklets,” Vosecky said.

They also provide access to computers to search for jobs and housing online.

Those who need housing do not necessarily need to have a job, but they do need to be at least searching for a job.

Child and Family Services also provides help for homeless youth through their Supportive Housing for Youth Program.

The program helps youth ages 16 to 20.

“If you’re under 18, there needs to be some reason you can’t be in the home,” Vosecky said.

There is a waiting list for the program.

Vosecky said she has four apartments where she can house youth who can’t stay at home due to an unhealthy living environment or have no home to which they can go.

Vosecky will work with the youth on life skills and goal-setting to get them prepared for living on their own.

Youth in the program must be either in school, or if they are past that age, they need to be working or looking for work.

However, if the person is younger than 18, he or she will need the signature of a parent or legal guardian to get them into the program.

“We don’t become legally responsible for them,” Vosecky said. “But we do check up and make sure they’re going to school and everything.”

The responsibility of living alone is huge for teenagers and a lot of the time the parents will not sign off on it, according to Vosecky.

“I get a lot of calls where it’s just someone that wants to move out and that’s not the same as being homeless or getting kicked out,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve ever put anybody in that doesn’t need to be in.”

Youth in the program have to live in the apartment according to a set of rules set by Child and Family Services.

There’s no drinking, smoking or drug use allowed in the apartments.

“I’ve had pretty few problems with people drinking in the apartment,” Vosecky said. “Youth can be in the program for up to 18 months.

“Most kids don’t stay the 18 months anyway,” Vosecky said.

According to Vosecky, one of the reasons youth need help being placed in a new home is because of drug and alcohol abuse and violence in the home.

To request help, contact Child and Family Services at 523-5601.