Our Story (A Brief History of HPC)
In 1994 several social service agencies in Rutland came together to discuss a 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 Board of Directors
Justin Classen, President
Tonya Magoon, Vice President
Jay Kullman, Treasurer
Randal Smathers, Secretary
Who We Serve
In 2021, the Homeless Prevention Center worked with 634 individuals. Some enrolled in longer-term case management. Others needed only a light touch, such as help with a security deposit, a housing search or restoring a benefit.
This is how a few clients (current and former) describe their experience being homeless in our community and working with the Homeless Prevention Center...
“We found ourselves homeless after a health crisis and I needed surgery and was not working full time. I got behind on my bills including my light bill and rent. Of course my electricity was disconnected and our pipes froze. By this time my landlord had been working with me but this was kind of the final straw.”
“Months passed we were couch surfing, camping and I completely lost my job due to many issues including being homeless. Being homeless started taking a huge toll on my kids, especially my 8 year old.”
“I was blessed to get a new worker at HPC and things finally starting happening.”
“When I was released in the summer of 2017 our children were gone, our apartment was lost and our home was broken. At the time neither one of us were skilled in coping strategies. We swam deeper into our addiction. With addiction comes crime and negative self/public image. Nobody liked or wanted us around.”
“During the time of our addiction we would couch surf, sleep in hallways and basements. We would only be able to utilize 211 If the temp was below 30 degrees or over 50% chance of precipitation. Having to walk the streets in 35 degree weather is dangerous.”
“We stayed trapped in this cycle for about 18 months of absolute homelessness. It wasn’t until our children were about to be adopted that we decided to get clean. However, even though we were clean our problems still existed.”
“6 months of early recovery living in a tent was every reason we needed to relapse but we didn’t. We supported each other and stayed the course.”
“I was 21 when I was evicted from my first apartment. My biological family refused to take myself and my 2 children in, so in the long run I had them stay with their dad.”
“I spent many nights walking around all night, and when the sun came up I would go to a friend’s house to shower and then go look for a job and apartment.”
“Being homeless is one of the scariest things a young person can go through, I went through many different “phases” of homelessness, there were times that I had absolutely no where to stay, there were times that I had a car and I would sleep in that, and there were times that I would stay with a friend or in a motel. Regardless of where I slept or in some cases not sleep, I knew that my mental health was deteriorating, the more depressed I got the more drugs I used, and each time I used I knew I was losing myself even more.”
“I have succeeded in so many ways. I have my 2 oldest children back, plus 2 more. I have a home, I have a car, I have had the luxury of being employed at a local organization that helps those in need, But most of all my kids have their mom back, and I am working to obtain my degree to become a social worker and recovery specialist. My goal is to help people that get trapped in the same cycle I was once in.”