At Casa Marianella, we’re happy to discuss what it means for our residents to become ‘self sufficient’. We use this term regularly to describe successful exits from Casa Marianella that lead to affordable housing and sufficient income.
With the great city of Austin, TX becoming increasingly tough to find affordable housing in, our definition of affordable housing regularly means a group of roommates or two families sharing an apartment. Speaking with Karen Wolman, our Grants Manager, we’re able to better understand the concept of affordable housing:
“We’ve developed a team case management approach to putting together groups of departing residents and finding an apartment or rental house. Case managers help through the entire process and that has proven highly successful. We are also able to provide subsidized transitional housing, mostly to our asylum residents, in shared apartments, where Casa subsidizes the rent and utilities for about 6 months as people transition to full independence. This also opens up shelter beds for new residents so we can serve more people.”
The incredible team at Casa works tirelessly to ensure that our residents are not leaving Casa Marianella without the appropriate support to become self sufficient within the Austin community. Karen elaborates further on the rate of successful exits over the past several years:
“For many years, 78-82% of our residents exited to self–sufficiency, which is an excellent percentage. During the last several years, our successful exits have been 85-93%. In the same timeframe, our resident population has become more heavily asylum seekers, a trend that began in late 2009 in the Adult Shelter and 2012 at Posada”.
It is important to remember that not all shelters calculate successful exits the same way. For example, when a Casa Marianella resident leaves Casa to go to another shelter, we do not consider that a successful exit, however some other agencies consider that a successful exit. Casa accepts residents based on their needs not our desire to have high statistics to showcase. For example, even when we are full, we often take residents for a few nights until a bed opens up in another shelter. Casa Marianella operates on the basis of need, meaning a lower percentage of successful exits for us, but fewer people sleeping on the street.
We are thankful for the incredible support we have received since opening our doors more than 30 year ago. With the help of the Austin community, we have been able to expand our services and help more and more immigrants in need. Helping our residents stand on their own is always our end goal, and it is with continuous love from our community, alongside such an incredible staff, that we are able to achieve such high rates of self sufficiency.