In 1994 several social service agencies in Rutland came together to discuss the rise in homelessness among individuals and families. These organizations formed the Rutland County Continuum of Care with the goal of ensuring that all people in our community have access to safe, affordable and permanent housing. In 1999 we became the Rutland County Housing Coalition (RCHC). In 2004 RCHC became its own 501(c)(3) organization. In 2014 we changed our name to the Homeless Prevention Center (HPC) to better reflect our mission and role in the community. Our legal name is Rutland County Housing Coalition d/b/a Homeless Prevention Center.
Our service delivery model uses a holistic approach which has proven effective in helping families and individuals move toward greater self-sufficiency. We start with a family’s housing need but also assist with accessing services and programs which help people move out of poverty. We encourage participants to set goals and work these self-directed goals into Individual Service Plans. Our Housing Support Specialist assists around other self-identified goals to ensure long-term safety and security. Depending on the situation, these might include: employment, education, health, mental health, and substance abuse treatment or counseling. Supportive case management and advocacy is vital to the success of individuals, and we believe participants should also involve themselves, when appropriate, in positive community activities. HPC has found that using a strengths-based approach helps individuals develop feelings of accomplishment and increases self-esteem. This, in turn, supports success in the areas of financial independence, permanent housing, personal relationships, and feeling like a productive member of the community.
HPC is committed to partnering with other individuals and agencies in our community. We respect and value working with private landlords, local businesses and other service agencies. There is no one agency that can “do it all,” so we work together to ensure success. We will refer individuals to local employment centers to increase and improve their vocational skill level for career development. We will assess a participant’s level of education and encourage the completion of a diploma or continued education through Vermont Adult Learning, Stafford Technical Center and Community College of Vermont.
We at HPC understand the importance of family and the emotional impact on children when one of their parents is absent from their life. If it is appropriate that the parent should have contact with his or her child, we support every effort toward reconciliation with the child by making referrals to the supervised visitation center and local parenting programs.
Financial literacy is crucial to gaining independence. We work with our community partners to provide educational seminars in balancing a checkbook, financial planning, and savings. HPC is a client-centered organization that works with participants to promote self-awareness through creative problem-solving.