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Business of the Week: How Shared Housing Works to Get Families Back on their Feet

January 19, 2022 | Deep Ellum Team

For some individuals — ones on their own or those holding the hands of their small children — finding themselves on the street comes more easily than they could’ve ever thought.

Working hard, getting the kids to school, going to work every day, scraping enough together to get food on the table. Then one day, something causes you to lose one paycheck, and everything falls apart.

Maybe your superior fails to do payroll on time, maybe your child’s daycare or school closes again because of yet another case of COVID or your parent died and every cent you have has to go to a funeral instead of rent.

And then you reluctantly face the reality that the next time you put your head down, it may be under the sky, which hopefully isn’t dropping rain.

Shared Housing Center Inc. has been working to serve individuals with children going through such a situation since 1984, based right on North Good Latimer Expressway in Deep Ellum.

Shared Housing helped find shelter for nearly 300 people in 2021.

“The one-paycheck-away type of person, that’s really what we’ve been seeing during the pandemic,” says Maria Machado, executive director.

Machado joined the organization in 1985, and Shared Housing was incorporated as its own 501(c)3 in 1987. Today, it gets individuals with kids into housing as efficiently as possible.

They primarily do this in three ways: homeshare, group residence and housing with the help of government funding.

The homeshare works with homeowners, who are primarily female seniors, to set up a situation where a family can rent a room by paying some rent or utilities. This is the longest-running program Shared Housing offers to date.

The nonprofit provides individual housing with the help of federal funding and partnering with Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance: Shared Housing screens applicants, then the city of Dallas, with the Dallas Housing Authority, pays the rent.

Machado says the pandemic has changed how the group shelter works. Families go here to get back on their feet without having to stay on the street, normally for three to 12 months. Lately, that’s more like a year’s time for many people.

Last year, Shared Housing was able to get shelter for 94 families: That’s 278 people, including children, who could sleep a little more soundly than otherwise.

Shared Housing volunteers

Shared Housing accepts monetary donations, as well as gently used clothes, pots and pans and more. There also volunteer opportunities: In the spring, it will have a call to volunteers to help with a children’s garden. So keep an eye on what Shared Housing is up to, if you would like to get involved.

Shared Housing Inc., 402 N. Good Latimer Expressway. 214-821-8510.