UPDATED: 2:19 p.m., March 14, with correct name of church.
Westside Homeless Prevention, a Spring Branch-based charity that offers financial help to families facing homelessness, opened a Katy location March 1.
“We are kind of putting our toe in the water [in Katy],” Westside executive director Susan Bolling said.
The charity was founded 22 years ago by a group of community members who wanted to keep homeless children from having to move out of the Spring Branch school district.
In Katy, Bolling said Westside would focus its efforts on residents inside the zip code 77084, servicing the Mayde Creek schools area in Katy ISD—including a high school, middle school and six feeder elementary schools.
Bolling said officials at Living Word Church of the Nazarene had offered office space as a place where officials with the charity could interview clients seeking to be a part of the program.
Bolling said clients generally find out about the charity through other social service organizations.
“The social services that are in Katy already, we’re working hard to make sure they know about us,” Bolling said.
Westside focuses on financial help and management, providing rent and utility assistance on a tapered basis for nine months.
There are some criteria potential clients have to meet. To qualify for assistance, Bolling said a person must be homeless or facing homelessness, meaning either living with another family, living in a motel paying weekly rent, living in a car or other motor vehicle or facing an eviction.
A potential client also has to be willing to get a job within 60 days of joining the program, Bolling said.
While working with Westside, she said clients learn financial skills and are required to take parenting classes. They may be directed toward other forms of assistance such as food stamps and can get help earning a GED or diploma.
“It’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up,” Bolling said.