Shared housing offers volunteer opportunities

Posted on 19 Jul 2007 at 8:43pm
By David Webb Staff Writer

Gay former councilman backs effort to provide housing

Gay former City Councilman Chris Luna is urging members of the community to get involved with the Shared Housing Center in his role as president of the group’s board of directors.

The nonprofit group seeks to provide housing and services to older adults, single parents with young children and people with special needs who are homeless. The services are provided through shared housing by pairing people who need housing with homeowners and by operating transitional group residences for single parents with young children and older adults.

The group also provides education services about housing through workshops, lectures and other forums.

Luna said he first became involved with the Shared Housing Center when he was on the Dallas City Council. Since then he has been a board member for several years.

“I continue to be amazed at the wonderful work of our volunteers and staff to lift our clients from homeless and near homeless situations to lifestyles of relative self-sufficiency,” Luna said. “This is no easy task when you consider that we serve critically at-risk populations older adults, single parents and young children and persons with special needs.”

Luna suggests people get involved by serving on the group’s board of directors or one of its committees, volunteering as an individual, a family or with a group of coworkers. The group also needs donations of clothing for adults and children, he said.

Luna said the group coordinates a back-to-school campaign to provide school supplies and clothing to students. Underwriters are needed for the upcoming campaign, he said.

The Shared Housing Center was established in 1989, five years after a group of volunteers from the Catholic Foundation, the Association of Aged and Retired People and the Texas Department on Aging approached a group of about 40 nonprofits with the idea.

The City of Dallas and the Catholic Foundation each contributed $25,000 to kick off the project.

The group has an annual budget of $400,000 with one full-time employee and four part-time ones. It operates four facilities devoted to transitional housing and a program that administers a $75,000 HUD grant for rental assistance.

Three annual fundraisers generate $100,000 of operating expenses while the balance comes from individual, corporate and foundation donations.

Donations can be made at the center’s facility at 402 N. Good Latimer Expressway. Call executive director Maria Machado at 214-821-8510 or visit shared-housing@worldnet.att.net.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 13, 2007

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