Over half of a million people in America are homeless. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, more individuals are at risk of homelessness than ever before. Single individuals, males, and unsheltered persons are among the most impacted by this crisis. Adults with disabilities are four times more likely to be homeless in shelters than adults without disabilities. Although there are thousands of community housing and homeless shelters across America, only three specialize in serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. CaringWorks, Inc., a health and human agency based in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of them.
CaringWorks aims to reduce homelessness and empower the marginalized by providing access to housing and services that foster dignity, self-sufficiency, and well-being. They provide housing, behavior health, and support services for men, women, and children. Additional programs and services include residential treatment services, case management, employment services, health resources provide basic assessment, monitoring and medication, peer support, and alumni support.
Their DHH program, the only one in Southeast region of the country, is situated at Hope House which is a 70-bed residential treatment facility. The program is for men who are homeless and coping with substance abuse disorders and is run by qualified DHH staff. The program works closely with several public and private organizations that serve the DHH community in Georgia, such as the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) the Georgia Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, to name a few. In 2019, Hope House served 15 DHH clients, five of whom remain in the program today.
With U.S. unemployment at 25% and climbing, there the number of people impacted by homelessness is expected to rise as well. CaringWorks is providing essential services that will likely experience increased demand, especially among the DHH community which struggles with a high rate of unemployment. COVID-19 has not only placed a significant financial burden on individuals, families, and businesses; it has also impacted the ability for non-profit organizations, like CaringWorks, to reach the vulnerable communities they serve.
The CSD Unites Foundation Micro-grant program was established to support organizations serving the deaf and hard of hearing community whose operations were impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic or are actively responding to community needs resulting from the pandemic. CaringWorks is one of six organizations to receive a microgrant from CSD Unites. As part of their efforts to support DHH clients with their journey to recovery and habitation, the organization has purchased several tablets and laptops that will be used to provide access to telehealth therapy, Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and other services.
To learn more about CaringWorks, visit https://www.caringworksinc.org/. If you or someone you know is at risk for homelessness, here are some recommendations for what you can do. If you are experiencing hardship due to the Coronavirus and are looking for deaf-friendly resources, please visit csd.org/coronavirus. You can use the ASL Now feature to talk directly with a trained representative who can help answer questions you may have about the Coronavirus. We also encourage you to use this feature if you have questions about the Coronavirus relief payment from the U.S. government or check out DeafTax.com for videos explaining the payment in ASL.