Families Experiencing Homelessness – Walking Alongside
by Klarissa Monteros, Program Manager, Coordinated Entry Services
Associated Ministries’ Family Permanent Housing Project is an intervention that accepts families that score highest in terms of vulnerability. These families are sleeping on the streets, in their cars, or in a shelter and are living with very complex barriers. They are served under a Housing First model which means we look at every family that comes to us as “housing ready” and deserving of the very basic need of housing. This is an immediate need that must be filled first in order for families to acknowledge their own power and self-actualize into full self-sufficiency.
We walk alongside our families to get them into a rental property within the first 30 days of project entry. Once they are off the streets we provide rent assistance while the family works with a case manager on their self-identified goals i.e. education, employment, increasing natural support systems. Each family has access to community support and resources, assistance with increasing mainstream benefits, employment and education services and referrals, and other varieties of assistance as needed.
This intervention is specially designed to be strength based and family driven because when a family takes ownership of the work being done they develop a commitment to their action steps. We help families see what they do well and what strengths allowed them to survive during their desperate times so they can apply those same skills to reach their goals. They know they are not being pushed to act as someone else needs them to, but as they desire, and therefore client and worker share a transparency that allows trust needed for families to own the power to change their circumstances and the motivation to exit homelessness, return to permanent housing and sustain stability.
In the first 6 months of this year we have been honored to serve 296 adults and children in this project! We plan to continue this work and serve these families the best we can in the midst of very tough circumstances!