Five years ago, the Portland, Oregon, nonprofit Path Home launched a program to help families who are about to lose their housing; the Homelessness Prevention Program pays back rent and past due utilities in emergency situations. “It really only takes a few days of missed work to start a snowball effect,” said Samuel Freni-Rothschild, Path Home’s prevention specialist. The number one reason that Freni-Rothschild hears from clients who need help paying their rent is that an adult missed some work because someone in the family was sick and therefore they lost income. In 2022, Path Home was able to keep 93 families in their homes, serving a total of 155 kids and 140 adults. On average, they spent only $3,180 to keep a family housed, preventing the stress and trauma of experiencing homelessness. The approach also costs a fraction of what they would spend to rehouse and shelter houseless individuals. Path Home’s executive director Brandi Tuck believes that prevention is not only more effective, it's a better investment.

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