Many of our community members have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, experiencing sudden loss of income. They are now at risk of becoming homeless, an outcome that we strive to combat. To that end, we seek to create "Roots Rapid Relief Fund," a flexible funding source to help alleviate some of the financial hardships, provide food, ensure that they do not default on rent, utility or phone bills, and that they remain housed during this devastating pandemic.
The Bay Area, where Roots operates its sites, was the first CA region to enact Shelter In Place Orders, leading many to be furloughed or laid off. While we are grateful for this public health intervention, it has left many on the verge of becoming homeless. Our members already lived below the poverty level and lack adequate shelter. Lending these families a helping hand while they are housed will ensure that they do not slide into hunger and homelessness during this crisis.
Since inception, Roots has been an integral part of the safety net for Oakland's low-income and poor unsheltered residents. This fund seeks to bolster Roots' efforts in assisting these vulnerable families within our patient population in Oakland and San Jose to stay housed, provide a breather, and prevent homeless. These funds will ensure that they have food, pay rent and do not default on utility or phone bills so they can continue to function until they regain job and income stability.
Our experience has shown that helping families staying secure and housed is a more effective strategy than waiting for them to experience the spiraling slippery slope of homelessness. Our goal is to provide multi-month food, bill, and rent payment support for 10 to 20 households, providing them the opportunity to maintain a roof for themselves/their families, and not add to the already large homeless population in the bay area.