Yolo Crisis Nursery: Protecting Children by Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness

By JoEllen Welsch
Special to the company

The Yolo Crisis Crèche has served the most vulnerable children and families in our community since 2001. We are committed to protecting children and strengthening families. We care for and keep children safe, while providing parents with referrals and services to help them tackle the root cause of their crisis and become strong, stable providers for their children.

The pandemic has been particularly difficult for families with young children. Parents have faced several new barriers in caring for and protecting their children, and for working parents, child care is scarce. These extraordinary challenges are clearly visible when last year the number of families served at the nursery increased by 67% and we distributed 43% more care packages than the previous year. Our clients, Emma, ​​Mateo, and their two young children were among those families hit hard by the pandemic.

Before COVID, Emma and Mateo’s family finances were tight, but they still managed to pay their bills every month. When the pandemic hit, they both lost their jobs and slipped into deep depression. Emma and Mateo are desperately struggling to pay their rent and even provide basic necessities such as food and diapers for their children.

When the family arrived at the nursery, they were terrified. They were behind on their rent and faced the frightening possibility of becoming homeless with their two young children. The nursery immediately assigned a social worker to help stabilize Emma and Mateo’s family and assembled a much-needed care kit for the children with formula, food, diapers and clean clothes. Yolo Crisis Nursery’s quick and loving response, along with 30, 60, 90 day and one year follow-ups, will help position this family for long-term stability and success.

The nursery staff lovingly looked after their young children while Emma and Mateo struggled to keep their families away from the streets. They worked with our partner agencies to secure rent support, help with interviews for new jobs, work with a counselor and ensure reliable childcare.

Over the past month, Emma and Mateo have had several job interviews and provided long-term childcare for their youngest child. The couple are now focused on finalizing their job search and finalizing long-term childcare for their eldest child. Both parents are delighted to be back to work. The Yolo Crisis Nursery’s early intervention not only helped prevent Emma and Mateo’s family from becoming homeless, but we also worked with the family to prevent future crises through our integrated services and referrals. .

“We are focused on promoting the health and safety of children by helping their families become strong and stable. Breaking the cycle of homelessness for children and families at risk is essential, ”said Heather Sleuter, Executive Director of Yolo Crisis Nursery. “We anticipate an increase in the number of families at risk or facing homelessness this fall and have staff on call to support the likely increase in safe nights.”

The moratorium on evictions put in place in California in early 2020 is expected to expire at the end of September. In an Aug.11, 2021 article, the Los Angeles Times said California has distributed $ 242.65 million in rent assistance to 20,066 households. The article went on to say that according to the California Agency for Business, Consumer Services and Housing, there are more than 130,000 requests for help pending and they are preparing for a massive acceleration in the coming weeks. before the moratorium expires.

To date, this assistance program has served 379 households in Yolo County. If you or someone you know needs help avoiding eviction, help is always available through California’s COVID-19 Rent Assistance Program. The program is designed to help landlords and tenants prevent evictions and loss of income. To learn more, please visit https://housing.ca.gov.

At Yolo Crisis, we work tirelessly to protect children by helping families move from crisis to a place of stability and strength. Thank you to our family of supporters at Yolo Crisis Nursery for helping to ensure that every child in Yolo County grows up in a safe, loving and stable home. If you haven’t already, I invite you to join us in helping protect the most vulnerable children in our community by donating to Yolo Crisis Nursery. Please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org to learn more about the many ways to support the nursery and the children and families we serve.

– JoEllen Welsch is the president of Yolo Crisis Nursery.

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