The core of BOSS’s mission is to help people overcome homelessness and move into their own homes. Staff in all BOSS programs—whether shelter, transitional housing, or drop-in services—work together to help homeless families and individuals secure housing by assessing their incomes, examining the type of housing that is available to them, filling out housing applications, looking for roommates if appropriate, visiting housing units, working on job and life skills, and doing whatever they can to attain housing.
In the past month alone, BOSS helped 22 people move into permanent housing. In addition, 3 people are on waiting for approval to move from the Housing Authority, 2 housing applications are pending, and 3 people are actively looking at units and preparing to move. Everyone in BOSS is somewhere in the continuum between first getting off the streets and dealing with trauma, health ,and income needs, then assessing their resources and capacity, then actively moving forward. For people who are higher functioning, this may be a shorter journey than for people with disabilities or chronic health needs that make affordable housing more elusive.
Finding an affordable rental unit in Alameda County is extremely difficult—in Oakland the average rent is $2,000 or more. When you have fixed or low income of $600-$900 a month, even a meager one-bedroom or studio is out of your reach. BOSS coaches people on their options, including shared housing (a more and more frequent strategy), moving to other areas (which is difficult when employment, school, and family support systems then require long travel), and increasing incomes (either securing disability benefits or seeking higher wage work).
If you are a landlord who is willing to rent to someone whose housing or credit history has been affected by homelessness but who is on the right track and ready for a home of their own, call the MASC at (510) 843-3700.