Prevention is the furthest upstream of the many services within the Family Promise service continuum.
Prevention is important on so many levels. From a dollars and cents perspective, the more people you have stably housed and contributing to a community, the stronger the community. Providing prevention services is more beneficial and cost-effective than providing mass brick and mortar shelter or dealing with the effects of chronic homelessness.
From a human rights perspective, every family should have the dignity of a home and a place to raise their children. Kids with stable housing are more likely to have stable education, stable health outcomes, and have an easier shot at being healthy and happy members of society.
Most people do not realize how many families are so close to experiencing homelessness.
HOW IT WORKS
The ultimate goal of Family Promise is to end family homelessness. Prevention plays a critical role in this mission. Poverty alleviation and the reduction of debt are long-term goals that make up part of the strategy to support families. Prevention aims to keep families in their homes. Prevention is not paying bills when a family is months away from a possible evictions. Prevention is not putting people in motels--this is providing shelter. Family Promise Prevention assistance programs are for families who are at risk of an imminent loss of housing. At Family Promise, an imminent loss of housing is one that will happen in no more than one to two weeks. In some instances, a family has already been served an eviction notice, and perhaps even gone to court. Families who are currently housed but are at imminent risk of becoming homeless may include persons renting a unit and facing eviction for nonpayment of rent and/or utilities, or persons living in housing that has been condemned or declared uninhabitable.
To receive assistance from us, a household must have at least one child under the age of 18, must have a letter of eviction from the landlord, be willing to work on a budget for future months; rent and expenses, and allow for three to six months of follow up case management.
A COMMUNITY RESPONSE
In every community, these core elements exist. By bringing the community together on the issue of family homelessness, Family Promise addresses a major social problem in a holistic, effective way. Once the community becomes engaged, people understand the root causes of family homelessness and take steps to address them. Family Promise Affiliates have created more than 1,700 community initiatives—housing programs, homelessness prevention, childcare and much more—that target the issues of poverty and homelessness on a local level.
A LONG-TERM SOLUTION
Not only does our 88% success rate mean many more families stably housed, it is also a tremendous cost saving to the community as diversion from far more expensive interventions. Our approach of keeping families together, identifying their strengths, and partnering with the community for solutions means that families are at much lower risk of returning to homelessness.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Family Promise changes lives. We served 126,000 parents and children last year, giving them the ability to realize their true potential. We also change the lives of our 200,000 volunteers, giving them a meaningful outreach right in their own communities.