Hospitality House Program began in 1986. We offer temporary, transitional housing, with close supervision and required programming to the working poor. The Coalition owns two Hospitality Houses, all located in Elizabeth, with the capacity for four homeless families. The houses also have apartments for host families who provide on-site supervision and support. The rules encourage a healthy, productive lifestyle; families are expected to be respectful to one another, keep their personal spaces clean, and share responsibility for the maintenance of common areas in accordance with a housekeeping schedule.
The Elizabeth Coalition plays a significant role in the lives of working homeless families. We give them a place to live when they don’t qualify for public shelters or other assistance. The cost of housing can take more than half of a household’s income, so there is not much left for food, transportation, childcare or healthcare. One unexpected expense can put the family on the path to eviction. These households have no financial slack; no savings, no assets and no relatives who are able to help. And short-term shelter does not solve their problems. These households need time to pay down debt, find new or better employment and save money for the deposit on a new apartment.
Through our programs families save at least 30% of their income, learn to stick to a household budget, participate in group education and enrichment activities and the children must attend school. The Coalition’s Hospitality House Program does not charge a fee. It allows the family to stay together, the caregivers can continue to work or look for work, they can pay down debt, build savings and the children can continue in their school. We strongly believe this population deserves the investment. Without it, more families will fall into poverty and the impossible dependency on government benefits.
Almost 180 families have completed the program since we began and no family graduating from our Hospitality House program has ever been known to be homeless again. On average, families will remain in our housing for about a year.