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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Karen Valenzuela, Thurston County Commissioner at (360) 786-5414
Jan Naughton, Community Action Council at (360) 438-1100 x1133
Phil Owen, SideWalk at (360) 545-3174

New Partnership Launches Efforts to End Homelessness

November marks the start of a new partnership in Thurston County that aims to bring renewed hope to homeless adults in our community looking to rebuild their lives. The Rapid Rehousing Rental Assistance program brings together the Community Action Council, SideWalk, and grant funding from Thurston County to give rental assistance to low-income adults who are ready to move out of homelessness and into housing.

"The rapid rehousing model has been very successful in other parts of the country, and our pilot program earlier this year had great results, so I'm excited about launching this effort full throttle and tackling the issue of homelessness in our community," said county Commissioner Karen Valenzuela.

The county awarded two grants to fund the Rapid Rehousing program totaling nearly $126,000. Rapid Rehousing partners also have secured additional funds through ongoing fundraising campaigns and private grants. SideWalk staff and volunteers will handle client screening and case management, while the Community Action Council handles program and funds administration. SideWalk's team of trained volunteers will follow the progress of Rapid Rehousing clients to ensure their success. The partners hope to get more than 100 homeless adults into stable housing in the next year.

"It's no secret that the economic downturn gave non-profits like ours a one-two punch of decreased funding along with big increases in the number of people needing help in our community," said Jan Naughton, Director of Development and Family Services for the Community Action Council. "That's why partnerships like the Rapid Rehousing program are so important. By teaming with SideWalk and pooling our resources and expertise, I think we can get the best bang for the buck and really help a lot of people in Thurston County who were hit hard by the economic downturn."

"We are eager to begin moving our clients to housing, and these grants will go a long way and help a lot of people, but to be truly successful, we need the power of our volunteers to back us up" said Phil Owen, Program Director for SideWalk, "We invite the local community to volunteer with our program and help us make the largest possible impact with this funding."

The new Rapid Rehousing program will serve single homeless adults and childless couples. People experiencing homelessness can apply for Rapid Rehousing assistance by contacting SideWalk at (360) 515-5587 Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

People interested in volunteering with the Rapid Rehousing program can contact Emma Margraf, SideWalk Outreach Coordinator, at (360) 545-3082, or learn more about volunteer opportunities with SideWalk at www.walkthurston.org.

Donations to the Rapid Rehousing program can be made with the Community Action Council by calling (360) 438-1100 or emailing info@caclmt.org, or visit www.caclmt.org for more information about Community Action Council donation programs and payroll deduction options.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3