Oakland outreach mission helps those struggling with housing insecurity

The high cost of housing is one hurdle facing prospective renters. But once a suitable home is found, there’s a financial obstacle to acquiring permanent housing.

For nearly four decades, Ariel Outreach Mission in Oakland has helped people and families struggling with housing insecurity find a permanant place to call home.

“This is the way we were raised. From the time we grew up our parents took in people. They helped people. It ran down the family,” said Dr. Nadine Scott, a co-founder and the executive director.

The ironic twist facing Scott – her outreach mission is itself in need of help. In addition to rehabbing aged properties, Scott says her meager funding has been drained on the months-long effort to find permanent housing for a family of six. The husband spoke to Fox 2 on the condition we protected their identities.

“We’re just making a way for me and my family. We got (an apartment), but we can’t move in because we don’t have enough funds. We already have section eight. We have everything in order. But my wife and kids are really stressed out about it,” he said. Added Scott, “We’re tapped out. And they need about 43-hundred dollars to get in.”

That money will cover the first month and last month’s rent, plus a security deposit at the Summer House Apartments in Alameda. The family doesn’t have it. And this is not atypical. Experts say it’s a common, final, hurdle to securing permanent housing.

“We’re seeing thousands and thousands of families who are working in minimum wage jobs and they can’t afford the rent, they’re falling on the street. And when they find a new place to live they have to pay thousands of dollars just to be able to move into the site,” said Ray Bramson, the chief impact officer with Destination Home, a South Bay-based housing advocacy group, focused on ending homelessness.

He says with rents continuing to rise, new policies need to be implemented to keep people in their homes, and help families facing homelessness afford move-in costs associated with renting.

“We’ve either got to raise up what people are making locally, and figure out how to get people trained and into higher waged jobs. Or we have to figure out how to get them some kind of basic income subsidy,” said Bramson.

Both those options won’t come quickly enough for this family of six. They’re staring at the answer to their prayers, and praying for a financial miracle that’ll allow them to call the Summer House Apartments, home.