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This family of 5 went from sleeping in a car in Redlands to finding permanent housing with city’s help

This family of 5 went from sleeping in a car in Redlands to finding permanent housing with city’s help

Cory Jacobs sounded tired as his three younger children excitedly ran around their new two-bedroom apartment giving tours and selecting spots for their beds. He had worked until 2 a.m., and by 10 a.m. he was at their new home with red accent walls and fresh carpet, signing a lease.

The family had been living in a motel room in Redlands for months, but even that was better than the nights when his paycheck had run out and they had to sleep in their car.

“It feels good just to be able to obtain housing and stability for the kids,” Jacobs said.

His family is one of the first to find what is meant to be permanent housing thanks to a $ 600,000 state grant to help Redlands with its shelter crisis.

Money from the Homeless Emergency Aid Program landed in the city this summer, and the Jacobs family is the sixth to be housed with the money.

“Rapid re-housing is all about getting folks into housing quickly, ending their housing crisis, and helping them toward self-sufficiency so they can maintain their new home once subsidy has ended,” Jeff Little, CEO with Inland Housing Solutions, said in an email.

His group is administering this final step of the grant, which also pays for two Redlands Police Department positions to make contact with homeless individuals and assess their needs, and an interim step run by Redlands Family Services Association giving some motel vouchers to get them off the streets until permanent housing is found.

The $ 370,883 portion of the grant allocated for housing is expected to help 35 people over the life of the two-year grant.

The money helps with security and utility deposits, rental assistance, case management, employment referrals and more.

“This HEAP program helps ease Redlands’ homeless crisis by providing housing opportunities for those who would otherwise still be homeless in Redlands,” Little said in an email. “It doesn’t fix a lack of affordable units, rental prices continuing to climb, stringent rental screenings, etc.”

The Jacobs family looked at several units, and eventually settled on the two-bedroom apartment in San Bernardino.

Jacobs will live there with his daughter, Sasha, 9, and sons Josiah, 10, Jonovin, 12 and Jordan, 16.

“It’s better than living in a motel,” Jonovin said.

When asked what her favorite part was, Sasha said, “I can bring my friends over.”

Josiah said the best thing about the apartment is “getting my own room,” though he will have to share it with his sister.

“For me, it’s being able to cook again,” their dad said. “Just not eating all that processed food, Hot Pockets.”

He said the family could only do so much for meals in a motel room with a microwave and a plug-in skillet.

“I go to the gym, so it’s going to be great for me to make meal preps,” Jordan said.

Each family member has ideas for the space.

Dad wants to decorate the kitchen area with Coca-Cola products.

Jonovin said he wants to paint his wall green.

Ideas also include bunk beds and a mini-fridge.

“I want to take a wall and take black-and-white photos of us and just make a … ,” Jacobs starts but gets sidetracked as the three younger kids grab hold of him for a hug.

“Our goal is to help households locate, secure, and maintain a suitable home of their choosing for their family,” Little wrote.

The $ 500 million grant sent a total of $ 9.4 million to San Bernardio County agencies to provide immediate emergency assistance.

The county could apply for another $ 6 million in state money for homelessness, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in December.

According to the January 2019 Point-in-Time Count, Redlands has the third-highest number of homeless individuals in the county with 183, up from 143 in 2018. The 2020 count is set for Jan. 23.

“It teaches you patience,” Jacobs said of his experience. “Patience is key. We were homeless for a little over a year. You just never give up. Persevering. You keep at it and eventually, you’ll get there.”


Press Enterprise