Hotel vouchers for homeless families
Some charitable organizations and counties in partnership with hotels, provide Hotel vouchers for homeless families during the cold winter season. This is a program where the organizations issue vouchers to homeless families who thereafter, present them to participating hotels for provision of food and shelter.
The hotels provide this service for the stated period and then present the vouchers to the organizations for payment.
Most of the families who get these vouchers become homeless due to reasons beyond their control, and it is often a short term transitional phase before they get another home or employment, to pay for accommodation elsewhere.
However, there are those that have anti social behavior and may need to attend rehabilitation programs and not hotels. These are the kind that accepts any form of accommodation from the hotels, however degrading, because they do not care about themselves in any way.
Sometimes they would not even look for alternative homes after the expiry of the voucher but comfortably go back to the streets.
Do the Hotels provide reasonable accommodation for the homeless families?
Some of the hotels provide reasonable accommodation, food and shelter to these families but it has not been the same experience for all. There are those that provide shelter which is not conducive at all, but the families have had to put up with them because after all, beggars are not choosers.
Since the vouchers are usually low as compared to the regular hotel fees, some of these hotel owners provide rooms that have dirty beddings, damp carpets, furnishings and unusable washrooms.
In my opinion when someone offers to provide a charitable service, whatever the case it should be done with a kind heart and not half heartedly. The hotel owners should either say they cannot provide the service instead of accepting to do so, and thereafter, give out their worst rooms to these families.
Helping people can be done in a manner that will still leave them with dignity.
How can supporting organizations ensure that these families get reasonable shelter?
The families should be vetted very well by the supporting organizations before they are given vouchers. This will filter out cases that are not genuine and who may require rehabilitation assistance.
Organizations that get into partnerships with hotels to provide shelter should have a policy which must be adhered to, before signing an agreement. This is the only way to ensure that these hotels provide reasonable food and shelter to the homeless, who present them with vouchers.
The supporting organizations should also send their representatives to visit the hotels, and see the rooms offered to the homeless in advance, so that they have a clear picture of what these people go through when they present these vouchers.
They can also decide to raise more funds and increase the cost of vouchers issued to the homeless families, so that the hotels do not feel like they are offering too much for nothing.
However, a more permanent solution to this problem would be to raise funds and construct a home that can provide food and shelter for the homeless during the cold winter seasons. They should then engage in self sustaining projects so that they do not always have to fundraise.
The organizations may raise funds in collaboration with the government, counties, corporate organizations and individuals who are willing to support the program.
As outlined above, providing Hotel vouchers for homeless families is a worthy cause which can support many people if the process is streamlined and has strict guidelines.