In the last 16 months, Salem Housing Authority’s Housing Rental Assistance Program has helped more than 109 homeless individuals move into safe, affordable housing.
Because of you, each month about 10 housewarming boxes plus emergency food boxes are given to people transitioning into housing after being homeless for many years.
“We can’t do this alone,” said Sonya Ryland, Lead Housing Stability Coordinator. “It’s nice to be able to call and say, ‘Hey, we need more housewarming boxes.’”
For anyone moving into a new home, having enough food to create meals and stock an empty pantry and refrigerator takes a significant amount of time and resources. According to SHA, this is especially tough in the initial weeks after someone has moved into housing after an extended period of homelessness.
“These housewarming boxes were game changers because they’re getting the staples: mustard, ketchup, flour, sugar, cooking oil, spices,” Sonya said. “They’re so used to eating bland food that they’re excited to season food the way they want or prepare meals they haven’t been able to before.”
Inside these housewarming boxes is also a food resource guide with a list of food pantries. Each client and their caseworker look over the list and highlight the pantries nearest to their new home.
A basic supply of food to get started and access to a nearby pantry is critical for these individuals and couples. Only when there’s enough food to eat can our vulnerable neighbors gain stability and work towards self-sufficiency.
“Food security is number one,” Sonya said. “That’s why we wanted to partner with Marion Polk Food Share.”
You make it possible for our newly housed neighbors to re-learn how to make a variety of healthy meals on a very limited budget, enjoy cooking and eat their meals with loved ones at a kitchen table for the first time in many years.
“We had a client who was about to move into a unit call us and say, ‘Last night I kept dreaming of how I was going to fill my cupboards with food,’” Sonya said.
This gentleman had been homeless since 1984. Because of you, he has the food he needs and can fulfill a dream 34 years in the making.
Housewarming boxes are more than a collection of foods and spices. When you help fill the cupboards of a new home, you’re making our most vulnerable neighbors feel welcome in our community and giving them hope for a healthier future.
*We would also like to recognize The Integrity Foundation funded by RE/MAX for its grant support of this program.*