Graduate Support Services

Helping the families we serve not only succeed today but remain stable in their housing, financial capability and career paths tomorrow.

                                                                                               One Graduate's Experience

 

"After going through the Family Promise program when I was 17 with my mother, some big things made Family Promise awesome for me, and there were some things that I wish could have happened (or not happened) while I was in the program.

 

During my time with Family Promise, I appreciated it when the staff and volunteers were lenient with me and allowed me to go out and spend time with friends. At the time I was working almost full time on top of high school, and so it genuinely made my life easier and more positive when I got to use my free time doing the things that I enjoyed, even if I was a little late when telling the church or staff that I was going out.

 

Another thing that made my time at Family Promise special for me was the fact that my Affiliate's case manager and executive director took time out of their days to talk to me and check in on how things were going at school, etc. I continue to meet with my case manager even four years later (just to catch up), so having her there to listen and build a relationship with helped me immensely while my family was experiencing homelessness, and continues to impact me today.

 

One hard situation that I had to face while in the program was being at churches that did not have guest Wi-Fi. It made doing online homework and connecting with friends more complicated. Another thing that probably would have made my experience with Family Promise a little better if I could have some more space and alone time. Experiencing homelessness was exhausting and stressful, and it made things harder when I felt that I had to wear a smile for the staff or volunteers.

 

Connecting to that, volunteers should be very conscious of the things they say and the questions they ask teen guests, as it can be very emotionally draining to answer the same hard questions over and over. One piece of advice I have for Affiliates is to be mindful that it can be challenging for guests, especially teen guests, to say "no" or "I don't want to talk about that right now." Often, this is because they feel guilty or feel they are disappointing someone who is helping them through a difficult time".

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Workforce development. Partners in Housing. Financial capability. Health and wellness. Homelessness has many causes and housing stability involves many solutions. Family Promise Affiliates have developed and implemented more than 1,000 different programs that address every aspect of stabilization.

Some get to the heart of core needs, such as childcare and job training, families face in order to regain self-sufficiency. Other initiatives find ways to match the strengths of local volunteers and the interests of local corporations with the needs of our guests, like financial literacy and mentoring. Similarly, many initiatives build off core tenets of the foundational shelter program itself, leading to efforts like food assistance, furniture and clothing donation, and health and wellness programs.

Probably no community initiative is more vital than the many housing programs Affiliates run. Currently, 104 Affiliates nationwide serve individuals in housing programs, including Permanent Housing, Permanent Supportive Housing, Transitional Housing, and others. As of December 2018, Affiliates were providing nearly 2,000 beds outside of their emergency shelter programs to parents and their children.

But our goal is not simply getting families into housing; it is keeping them in housing.

Key to this is identifying needs specific to the local community and tapping into the diverse resources our volunteer pool and partnerships provide. The result is families no longer at risk of homelessness.

And, even more importantly, through programs we have launched for tenancy preparation, micro-entrepreneurship, and virtual career pathway training, Affiliates create the basis for security and stability that separates families from poverty and allows them and their children to aspire to the future every child deserves.

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