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Home Runs for Housing

When I’m not watching Ryan’s baseball games, I am proud to work with Wellspring Family Services, a nonprofit human service organization committed to ending family and employee homelessness. That’s why we decided to add a little fun – and fundraising – to our Baseball Fan Grand Slam trip.

Help Us End Family and Employee Homelessness

Our goal was to raise $100,000 to help end family and employee homelessness in our communities. By the end of the trip, we had raised $31,614. However, it is not too late to help us get closer to our goal! Will you help?

Curious about how many home runs we saw, and how those home runs contributed to our fundraising efforts? Here’s a summary:

The donations go directly to Wellspring Family Services, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Donors will receive a tax receipt from Wellspring.

Is Employee Homelessness Really a Problem?

When I tell people I help families and employees experiencing homelessness, most people picture an adult male in need of a shower, with visible evidence of an addiction or other mental health disorder, living in a tent on a city street. This is actually a relatively small subset (about 16%) of US residents who experience homelessness on any given night.

Most people experiencing homelessness look like the fans above. They are more likely than not to be employed. They are typically low income and living paycheck to paycheck, with young children in their household. And they are hoping that no one ever finds out that they are homeless.

Why Do Employees Experience Homelessness?

For most people, homelessness happens because they have no financial reserves and experience a financial emergency. Maybe their car broke down, or they missed work due to illness, or a family member passed away unexpectedly. While more than 60% of the US population lives paycheck to paycheck, most of those individuals could borrow money from a parent or friend, move home with family, sell something, or take on debt. However, at least 11% of the population could not pay the expense by any means. When these households experience a financial emergency, they often lose their housing.

Once an employee is homeless, it is extremely difficult for that employee to get help. Most government-funded programs are designed to serve the needs of people with no income. Employees literally make too much money to qualify for help, even when they are living in their car with their family.

That’s one reason why employees often lose their jobs after they become homeless. It is the only way they can qualify for assistance.

The other reason is that finding help, especially when you are employed, is a full-time job. The average family experiencing homelessness needs to make more than 40 phone calls before they find any help. If they are employed, the number of calls is even higher.

Employee Homelessness Also Hurts Employers

Employee homelessness hurts employers, too. Employers feel the impact of housing instability in employee performance. Anxiety and depression related to financial insecurity costs employers about $150 per employee per year. When an employee leaves their position because they need assistance or they cannot make it to work on time or regularly, the employer pays the cost of that turnover. This can range from 16% to 21% of the employee’s annual wages.

That’s Why Wellspring Family Services Launched the New Employee Stability Program

Wellspring’s Employee Stability Program works hand in hand with Wellspring Employee Assistance Program to reduce and address employee homelessness. The program is designed as an employee benefit, offered through employers to all employees.

The benefit program includes two components: employee stability services designed to help any employee, regardless of income level, address a short-term financial crisis that could impact housing stability. The second component is a fund created by employers, employees, and donors that will help employees retain stable housing and employment. The fund will provide low-income employees experiencing homelessness, at immediate risk of homelessness, or escaping domestic violence with financial support to address the unexpected costs.

You Can Provide Stability To Your Employees

Wellspring offers both its Employee Assistance Program and its Employee Stability Program through employers across the United States. If you are an employer who would like to learn more about these programs, please check out our EAP website.

Thank you for helping to make this trip a home run for housing!