Leaning against the Warming Center’s wall in Grants Pass, I noticed George chatting animatedly on his cellphone. When he finished the call with a triumphant smile, he couldn’t wait to share his news.

“Phil, you won’t believe what I just did,” he exclaimed, hanging up. His excitement was palpable as he continued, “I’ve just arranged with a new lawyer to sort out all my legal problems so I can finally get a job and an apartment.” 

He was visibly moved, attributing his breakthrough to the support he received from the center. “I used my stimulus check to hire him, too! I couldn’t have done this without your help in getting that check. Thank you, so much!”

His gratitude was heartwarming. “You’re welcome, George! I’m thrilled for you!” I replied, celebrating his step forward.

At the Warming Center, a staggering 69% of our guests were unaware they could claim their $1,200 or $1,400 stimulus check from the U.S. government. In my book, Stimulus for Homeless, I recount how we helped many of our 260 unhoused neighbors utilize these checks to pave their way off the streets. The book spread to other communities, even ones on the Oregon coast, such as Brookings, which helped their homeless populations secure over $40,000 in stimulus checks.

The book also details how Center staff along with the Grants Pass volunteers helped George and the other unhoused neighbors gain access to essential supportive services like mailing addresses, health insurance, SNAP food stamps, job readiness programs, obtaining IDs like birth certificates and social security card replacements, resume assistance, phone access, rent readiness programs, and more.

Inspired by George’s use of his stimulus check to overcome legal hurdles that impeded his employment and housing opportunities, I authored this book. Thank you, George!

Now that stimulus checks are no longer available, what other options can we explore to assist our unhoused neighbors in overcoming similar legal challenges to getting jobs and housing?

That’s a great question! Look for answers including “best practices” in homeless courts and diversion programs in future articles and resources.



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