NewsMaking It In San Diego


North County nonprofit program aims to prevent homelessness

North County nonprofit program aims to prevent homelessness
Posted at 5:40 PM, May 31, 2022

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - With the cost of everything going up, a tough financial situation can turn worse quickly. Enter a local nonprofit program at preventing homelessness.

More than a year ago, Randall Hunt and Olga, his wife of more than 35 years, found themselves in a desperate situation.

“I had no way or no hope for anything,” said Randall Hunt, 82.

The family member they had been living with was going through a divorce, and they were suddenly faced with eviction. Hunt was caring for his wife, who was suffering from dementia. Social security was their only income. Their savings? Depleted.

“I was fearful. If we got evicted, where would we be? We'd have to be on the streets, I guess,” said Hunt.

That's when Olga's daughter reached out to Interfaith Community Services, a social service nonprofit based in Escondido.

Hunt signed up for the wraparound services for those in need.

“I couldn't believe it. It’s a bolt out of the blue,” said Hunt.

A case manager helped Hunt apply for a one-bedroom, affordable housing unit at a senior complex in Escondido.

In April 2021, the nonprofit took care of the move, two months of rent and utilities, kitchen supplies, and some furniture.

“I give thanks every day for being here … There was no possibility of having a place of my own,” said Hunt.

"The number of people struggling just to pay their bills has increased significantly in the last six months,” said Greg Anglea, CEO of Interfaith Community Services.

Anglea says rising costs, including housing, have forced many to the brink.

Everyone qualifies for assistance for basic needs like food. Other assistance like rent, utilities and transportation may depend on income level. Any assistance also comes with financial counseling.

“Our number one goal is to prevent homelessness from ever occurring for that individual or family,” said Anglea.

This past December, Hunt’s love, Olga, passed away. In the aftermath, Interfaith Community Services provided emergency rental assistance when Hunt, waiting on his wife's social security benefits, fell behind on rent.

Hunt says once again, the nonprofit threw him a lifeline.

“It is a miracle. It is a miracle. People in my situation, nothing you can do. It's a blessing,” said Hunt.