South Coast

Crucial Support for Families on the Edge

Harmony House, Coos Bay

Jennifer Spatz worked for a nonprofit that administered children’s programs and services where she saw firsthand the difficulty at-risk families had in finding shelter. The lack of supportive transitional housing led Jennifer and others to launch a new effort to meet the need. So they founded Coos Cares, which runs Harmony House to shelter families and match them with essential services. But the new organization was strained for resources, with only enough funding for two part-time staffers.

“The economy here has not caught up quite as quickly as the rest of the state. Between the economy and lack of housing, it has really caused a big strain on our local families.”

Jennifer Spatz
Coos Cares Executive Director

In 2018, a grant from OCF funded the new positions full time. “It’s had a huge impact on case management,” said Spatz. “The clients are getting help quicker and getting more of it.” Coos Cares also helps nonresident clients stay housed or find other affordable housing.

Coos Cares removes barriers to employment and stable housing by connecting residents and other parents with agencies that can help them access transportation, create resumes, prepare for job interviews, and obtain a drivers license.

Families living served by Harmony House have seen good outcomes, often moving on to permanent stable housing. The organization is aiming to purchase properties and extend services to more families as new funding is secured. “The return on investment is good,” Spatz said.


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