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(COLUMBIA, MO) - The Boone Impact Group is transitioning from disaster response to long-term recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boone Impact Group, through its CoMoHelps collaborative, provided $1,639,287 to more than 40 local nonprofits and schools for COVID-19 relief assistance for food, rent, utilities, learning pods and more.

The pandemic revealed and exacerbated many of the community's most challenging issues, many of which are rooted in poverty and inequity, such as the affordable housing crisis and homelessness. As work continues to recover from the pandemic, the Boone Impact Group has funded a pilot program of the Boone County Coalition to End Homelessness targeted at addressing access to affordable housing for the most vulnerable unhoused neighbors.

Modeled on successful programs in other communities, the Housing Stability Program is a partnership between property owners/managers, tenants, local funders, the Columbia Housing Authority and the Boone County Coalition to End Homelessness.

"Our goal is to increase the number of landlords willing to lease housing to our chronically homeless population. We currently have 180 unhoused residents seeking housing. Ninety-seven of these individuals have access to housing vouchers but are unable to find a landlord willing to accept the vouchers. If we were able to utilize these vouchers to house these homeless individuals, we could instantly cut the number of people experiencing homelessness in our community in half," Boone County Coalition to End Homelessness Coordinated Entry Specialist Jessica Macy said.

The program is designed to alleviate some of the perceived financial risks in leasing to vulnerable tenants using housing vouchers.

"I am interested in helping local people and trying to be understanding. It hurts me to see people in crisis and not have anywhere to go, but I simply did not know how to help. I would not be doing this if it weren't for your support. I've avoided (taking vouchers) for 12 years, but I'm willing to give it a try," a local participating landlord said about the program.

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The Boone Impact Group will work with the Boone County Coalition to End Homelessness to evaluate the effectiveness of the Housing Stability Program as the group seeks solutions to the affordable housing crisis which was accelerated by the pandemic.

"Each month, the Columbia Housing Authority has over 100 program participants searching for housing and typically 30 or less will successfully identify an available and eligible unit in our market. I am excited to see this innovative approach to help increase the availability of eligible housing from current and new landlord partners," Columbia Housing Authority CEO Randy Cole said.

For more information about the Boone Impact Group, please visit: booneimpact.org

Boone Impact Group
The Boone Impact Group (BIG) is a unique collaboration between local funders in Columbia and Boone County, Missouri. The BIG partners include:
  • Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services - Division of Human Services
  • Boone County Community Services
  • Heart of Missouri United Way
  • Veterans United Foundation
  • Community Foundation of Central Missouri

CoMoHelps is a joint effort of the Boone impact Group that serves as Columbia and Boone County's official emergency and disaster donations management lead. Through CoMoHelps, the Boone Impact Group partners work with local governments, schools, and community partners to determine the needs of our community during emergencies and disasters and quickly raise and allocate resources to meet those needs.

Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services - Division of Human Services
Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services - Division of Human Services (DHS) addresses the causes and conditions of poverty in our community by providing, purchasing and coordinating human services. DHS also leads mass care/human services and donations management in our community's emergency response operations.

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Boone County Community Services
The mission of Boone County Community Services is to support the greatest possible level of independence and self-sufficiency of Boone County residents by promoting their physical, mental, and social well-being to cultivate a safe and healthy community. Learn more at showmeboone.com/Community-Services.

Heart of Missouri United Way
Heart of Missouri United Way fights to improve lives in our community. Our community wins by Living United: By responding to changing community needs. By forging strategic partnerships and fostering effective solutions to tackle local issues.

Veterans United Foundation
Veterans United Foundation exists to enhance the lives of veterans and military families and support diverse needs in our local communities and across the nation.

Community Foundation of Central Missouri
The Community Foundation of Central Missouri (CFCM) inspires and nurtures philanthropy for the public good. CFCM is a full-range, one-stop, charitable giving shop offering a mix of investment and fund management services, grant guidance and support, and knowledge of the nonprofit sector. The COVID-19 Regional Relief Fund was established to provide aid to nonprofit service providers struggling with the urgent health and economic effects of the coronavirus. Grants are awarded to meet critical needs in healthcare, education, arts and culture, animal welfare, and more, to help ensure wellness and economic recovery in central Missouri.

Boone County Coalition to End Homelessness
The Boone County Coalition to End Homelessness is a coalition of more than 20 private and public organizations, as well as dedicated individuals, who work in partnership to prevent and end homelessness in Columbia and Boone County. Using a process called coordinated entry, the coalition members meet twice monthly to match unhoused neighbors with housing and supportive services. This process prioritizes housing and services to our most vulnerable unhoused neighbors, using housing first approach. The Boone County Coalition to End Homelessness also seeks community-level solutions to the issues of homelessness and affordable housing.

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