Hospitality House/ Western Crisis Assistance Network (“WeCAN”)

For 17 years, the WeCAN program has provided critical homeless prevention and crisis assistance services for low income area households experiencing a poverty-related crisis.  Its major support areas include:

Heating fuel and electric assistance.  The largest component of the program, it provides more than $50,000 annually in direct financial support to impoverished families struggling with keeping homes heated.  On average, WeCAN pays $300 for heating fuel fill up and $100 in electric assistance per household each year.  This helps ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable households among us can stay housed in a safer and more stable environment, thus preventing them from becoming displaced to homelessness due to abject poverty. 

The coldest winter months bring the largest demand, when impoverished households struggle to maintain the stability necessary to keep them out of homelessness.  For those families forced to decide between putting food on the table or keeping the heat running, WeCAN’s assistance helps avert hunger.  It also helps avoid a decision to heat households in unsafe ways that can be life-threatening..

Electric Bill Support.  In partnership with both Blue Ridge Electric and New River Power & Light, WeCAN administers those utilities’ Operation Round Up and Good Neighbor Round Up programs that provide assistance to families struggling with past due utility payments that can cause disruption of service and potential homelessness.

Rapid Rehousing.   This program provides financial assistance and services, including rental deposits, utility assistance and connection fees to prevent families from becoming homeless and help those who are homeless to be quickly re-housed.

Other Crisis Support.  Other areas of support include prescription drug needs, transportation to other shelters, and obtaining needed vital records.

Most Recent Annual Program Results

  • Total clients served: 655 households = 1,612 total family members
  • First time clients served: 212 received assistance for the first time
  • Aid distributed:
    • Housing Support:   $9,165
    • Utility Support: $61,903
    • Round-Up Support:             $21,427
    • Other crisis support:              $2,029

                        Total:             $94,524

The Current Need.  The local economic impact of COVID-19 is staggering, and while various emergency government measures can help ameliorate that impact, too often they are too little and too late.  Already living on the verge of homelessness, the current environment presents potential WeCAN clients with a host of challenges that can tip them in the wrong direction.  The WeCAN program can help, but it needs additional resources to keep up with the rising current demand for these services. 

How We Can Help:  Jesus cited loving God as the first commandment, and the second is that “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Mark 12:31.  During this crisis, when volunteering activities are curtailed by health concerns, we urge you to prayerfully consider continuing to donate, as you are able, to our local mission partners by contributing to our Disaster Relief Fund.

To read more about Hospitality House’s We/CAN program click here:

To read more about all of Hospitality House’s programs and services, click here:

To read more about Hospitality House’s COVID-19 response and how you can help, click here: