Share |

Family Promise North Shore Boston

 330 Rantoul Street
 Beverly, MA 01915
[P] (978) 922-0787
[F] (978) 922-0787
www.familypromisensb.org
[email protected]
Russ Queen
Facebook Twitter
INCORPORATED: 2012
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 27-1801635

LAST UPDATED: 09/21/2017
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

--

Mission StatementMORE »

The mission of Family Promise North Shore Boston is to end homelessness on the North Shore one family at a time by providing shelter, meals, and comprehensive case management to families experiencing homelessness as they seek permanent sustainable housing.

Mission Statement

The mission of Family Promise North Shore Boston is to end homelessness on the North Shore one family at a time by providing shelter, meals, and comprehensive case management to families experiencing homelessness as they seek permanent sustainable housing.


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015
Projected Income $201,000.00
Projected Expense $200,674.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Interfaith Hospitality Network

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

The mission of Family Promise North Shore Boston is to end homelessness on the North Shore one family at a time by providing shelter, meals, and comprehensive case management to families experiencing homelessness as they seek permanent sustainable housing.


Background Statement

Family Promise North Shore Boston (FPNSB) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides shelter, meals, and comprehensive case management to homeless families from the North Shore of Massachusetts. This inter-faith hospitality network began with a group of concerned individuals determined to offer a holistic community response to the needs of homeless families on the North Shore.

This group learned about Family Promise National (FPN) and decided to follow the wrap-around model that had demonstrated so much success across the country. FPN began as the Interfaith Hospitality Network in 1986 to address the plight of homeless families in New Jersey. Since that time FPN has provided food, shelter, and support services for thousands of homeless families utilizing the facilities of faith organizations.

After deciding to become an independent affiliate of FPN, the Board of Directors of FPNSB formed in November 2011 and gained 501 (c)(3) status. After fundraising for basic expenses, the board hired a Network Director, an office assistant, and a case manager to begin hosting the first qualified families in May 2013.

Our network of trained volunteers is the heart of our program. We now have over 1000 volunteers from over 40 congregations working directly with guests. Host congregations provide temporary overnight lodging in otherwise unused space. The trained volunteers then cook and serve meals, play with children and interact with families with a sense of compassion and mutual respect. By getting to know the participants in our program, volunteers come to know the face of homelessness. These volunteers constitute a powerful force for change in ending homelessness. FPNSB is not only about providing direct service; it is about building community to affect systematic change.

Our headquarters in Beverly houses staff offices and a day center that participant families can use for job hunting and connecting with critical services. Our van transports our guest families between our headquarters and host congregations. Families can receive mail, catch the school bus, and get ready for the day at the day center. We also employ a social worker, who is devoted to helping participant families find jobs and permanent housing, and to referring family to other needed services.

Since opening, FPNSB has served 14 families experiencing homelessness on the North Shore of Boston. Eight families have transitioned in to permanent housing, a success rate of 75%.

 


Impact Statement

Since our inception in May 2013, Family Promise North Shore Boston has served over 20 families in our ongoing Network Program, as well as over 10 more families in the community who are at risk of experiencing homelessness themselves. In 2015 alone, Family Promise was able to serve 9 families in our Network and 4 families in the community, keeping them in their homes or finding alternative placements for them. We do this with only 2 full time staff. Over the course of the last 3 years, we have successfully trained over 1000 volunteers who help serve our families on a weekly basis. One of our best examples of our impact to the communities we serve is that of all the families that have successfully "graduated" from our program, none of the families have re-entered shelter. This speaks to the intensive nature of our weekly case management services as well as the incredible work our families put in to locating work and finding sustainable housing.

 


Needs Statement

Over the course of the past 3 years, one added barrier that multiple families have come up against is the lack of affordable housing that is available to them after increasing their income, paying off debt/arrears etc. One way to combat this is for Family Promise to locate and secure some transitional units for our families to reside in, until something permanent can be located. This will have a two-fold effect on the Organization. Firstly, this will allow a family to continue what they have gleaned from the Organization by re-entering the community with stable employment, proper training around financial literacy and any other community supports they need to make a successful transition. Secondly, this will open the front door to Family Promise to begin working with families that need help with shelter, intensive case management, etc. We have begun a partnership with a local College that has  modular units in which our families will be able to move to, enroll in the College and complete a degree (Associates, Bachelors or Masters). These units will need to be maintained and Organized

CEO Statement

It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with Family Promise North Shore Boston’s dedicated Board of Directors and network member congregations during this last calendar year (2014). Through the committed actions I have seen firsthand from members of our FPNSB team display their passion for helping homeless families to maintain hope as they move through the difficult and traumatic circumstance of family homelessness. Seeing dedicated service to a National issue right in our back yard, is truly humbling on a daily basis. Coming along side our volunteer Board of Directors as well as the more than 1000 volunteers who consistently give of their free time and energy to serve families experiencing homeless is truly one of the most rewarding moments of my career.

After more than a decade with the State's child welfare system, I can say this model is truly unique and has a lasting impact, not only the families that we serve but on the volunteers as well. What sets this model apart is the focus on hospitality. Hospitality involves showing respect for one’s guests, providing for their needs, and doing so while treating them as equals. This is not just service delivery. It is through hospitality that labels are discarded, barriers are broken, and the dignity of our guests is protected. When the labels come off, the human face of family homelessness emerges and advocates for the needs of homeless and low income families are created. It is through hospitality that our neighbors – homeless families with children right here on the North Shore – come to know that they have not been forgotten.

Another unique element to our program model is our heavy use of existing resources to fill an urgent need. Like many other individuals, I have been tremendously concerned when I think about resources going to waste when there are so many among us who need so much. Space in our area houses of worship that had been sitting idle and empty for much of the week have now become safe shelter and the place where human connections are made – the kind of connections that foster a rapid ascent from poverty and homelessness to stability and independence. This ascent is aided by the fine human services providers who are already doing compassionate and competent work with families here on the North Shore. We’re not reinventing any wheels with this program – merely connecting people with resources that already exist – fostering collaboration and cooperation along the way.

This is a very exciting time and I look forward to working with this great organization for years to come.

 


Board Chair Statement

What great joy I feel to in helping homeless children and their parents achieve lasting self-sufficiency! In early 2014, my spouse Carol and I had the privilege of helping the first graduate family move into their apartment in Beverly. My new friends, Carol and I were all grinning as we carried each armload of furnishings up the stairs. I recall thinking, “When was the last time I felt this good?” I truly believe that we at Family Promise North Shore Boston are helping to make a very tangible difference in people’s lives. That is, my time and talents and those of our superb staff and volunteers are being used to help give people hope. We continue to rejoice as more families graduate.

As we approach the end of our second full year of program operations, I reflect on our accomplishment of two major goals. First, we work closely with other community agencies (in order to avoid duplication) to build a program that empowers our guests to find well-paying jobs and sustainable housing. Our Network Director and Assistant Director (two trained social workers) work tirelessly to help families break the cycle of poverty. Because we chose to start the program while we were still building it, our placement numbers are limited at first. However, there is no limit to the joy that the children and parents in our 9 graduate families feel in their new homes. Second, we have built a network of more than 1,000 loyal volunteers from Boston’s North Shore who support our families by setting up living areas in churches, making meals, playing games with children, and staying overnight as chaperones. As
these volunteers come into contact with our guests, they become educated as to what homelessness really means. In addition to sharing their time and talents, this group will become a force for change in the future. Namely, they will use their personal connections to open doors of opportunity for our guests and, over time, advocate for increasing the supply of good jobs and affordable housing. Imagine what these committed citizens can do to help end homelessness!
As we look to the future, we are firmly focused on continuing to refine and grow our services and network in order to help many more families return swiftly to lasting independence. While doing this, we are exploring creative partnerships with other service providers in order to maximizing our impact.

 


Geographic Area Served

NORTHEAST REGION, MA
--

Organization Categories

  1. Housing, Shelter - Homeless Shelters
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

Interfaith Hospitality Network

Our Interfaith Hospitality Network Program (the flagship program of Family Promise North Shore Boston) provides temporary shelter, meals, hospitality, and services to homeless families with children utilizing available space and volunteers from an interfaith network of member congregations.  The program also utilizes a Day Center where guests do laundry, shower, conduct work and housing search activities and receive individual casework services from a professional social worker.  School-aged children in the program are picked up at the centralized Day Center on school days by their home school system enabling continuity in education and socialization.

Budget  200,000
Category  Housing, General/Other Homeless Shelter
Population Served Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Two homeless families with children will be provided with safe, temporary shelter, meals, and services when we launch our program on May 12, 2013.  Within 60 days we will increase our number of guest families to our 4 family maximum, maintaining that maximum (except for brief periods when families transition into and out of the program) for the duration of our program.  By the end of 2013 we will have assisted at least 3 families to exit the program into sustainable housing.
Program Long-Term Success  Seventy percent of our guest families will move into their own sustainable housing within 90 days.  Absenteeism among the school-aged children in our program will decrease as a result of the continuity provided by our Day Center.  Advocacy for the needs of homeless and low-income families will increase as a result of our program's volunteers interacting with our guest families.
Program Success Monitored By  We will measure our success by the number of families that successfully enter into sustainable housing.  We will survey past program participants to determine the rate at which they are maintaining their housing one year after exiting the program.  Guests will be linked with all private and public resources for which they are eligible.  
Examples of Program Success 
Nationally, nearly 80 percent of families served by Interfaith Hospitality Networks go on to long-term housing.
 
"Thank you all so much for the effort and love behind everything all of you great people have done for us... These are the moments that we will cherish forever.  Now it is time for us to move on and pass to someone else the chance and opportunity to experience what a real family is.  We will miss all of you very much.  God bless your souls.  This program really works to help build a better life, and teaches us the true maning of love." - Brune, a guest of the Interfaith Hospitality Network program of an established Family Promise affiliate. 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The most unexpected challenge faced by FPNSB is Massachusetts’ unique requirement that houses of worship providing temporary shelter must obtain an Overnight Occupancy Permit. To obtain the permit, host congregations were asked to make upgrades ranging from sprinkler system installation to hard-wiring carbon monoxide sensors into a system monitored by an alarm company or municipal fire department. In those cases where sprinkler installation was required, the price tag proved too high and we lost those congregations as hosts. For other host congregations, even the lower price tag associated with carbon monoxide upgrades proved to be too much as this was an unbudgeted expense.

As the permitting process continued, it became an additional challenge to keep our network congregations engaged with our organization so that they did not turn their attention to other mission work that they could engage in more immediately. This challenge is being addressed by launching our program with our permitted hosts accepting a collapsed hosting schedule – where they host families more often than the roughly one week per calendar quarter suggested by the program model. Further, we identified local resources sympathetic to the plight of homeless families who are providing our remaining unpermitted hosts with discounted pricing for the upgrades they will need in order to be permitted and participate in our program as hosts.

The opportunities facing FPNSB are many. With 22 committed support congregations and ongoing recruiting efforts, we’re confident that we will reach our goal of 13 committed and permitted hosts by year end. Our current total of 35 network member congregations representing houses of worship in 13 North Shore communities will enable us to continue to successfully recruit new members and will contribute substantially to our ongoing funding needs.

Our local social services agencies have welcomed us with open arms into the North Shore non-profit community. We have already formed collaborative relationships with agencies such as Beverly Bootstraps, Community Giving Tree in Boxford, Action of Gloucester, Pathways for Children of Gloucester and Beverly, the Open Door Food Pantry of Gloucester, and the Community Service Agency of Cape Ann/Salem to name a few. Our program’s emphasis on linking guests with existing resources will lead to mutual referrals between agencies which will foster increased collaboration and creative problem solving to address the needs of homeless families.

 

Management


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Russ Queen
CEO Term Start Mar 2014
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Russ brings a diverse skill set to the role. He spent 10+ years in he child welfare system for the State of Masachusetts, both in a case management role as well as a managerial role. Managing contracts, a $6MM annual budget, overseeing youth in various forms of congregate care, etc. Most recently, Russ co-founder a company to further understand the day to day operations, financial etc of a start up company. This varied experience places Russ is a unique position to manage the day to day needs of a start up non-profit. Russ is also an active member of one of the host congregations in Ipswich, serving an ordained Deacon for the past 5+ years.

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
Affiliate/Chapter of National Organization (i.e. Girl Scouts of the USA, American Red Cross, etc.) - Affiliate/chapter 2011
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

--

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 4
Number of Volunteers 1,200
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

--

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Duncan Ballentyne
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired
Board Chair Term Nov 2013 - Nov 2015
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Duncan Ballantyne Retired Researcher Voting
Ms. Janet del Valle North Shore Community College Voting
Rev. Michael Duda First Church Wenham Voting
Ms. Dale Earl Massachusetts Dept. of Higher Education --
Rev. Deirdre Greenwood-White Annisquam Village Church Voting
Mr. Michael Keefe-Feldman non-profit Quarterly Voting
Ms. Cheri Marquart Retired School Teacher Voting
Ms. Elizabeth Murray Citizens Bank Voting
Ms. Cathryn O'Hare Trinity Management LLC Voting
Mr. Don Preston Habitat for Humanity North Shore Voting
Ms. Lyndsy Stopa Microsoft Voting
Mr. Michael Wheeler Beverly Cooperative Bank Voting
Ms. Susan Zwart Second Glance, The Thrift Store of the Open Door Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 13
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 8
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Advisory Board / Advisory Council
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Personnel

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Expense Breakdown (%)

No data available

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015
Projected Income $201,000.00
Projected Expense $200,674.00
Form 990s

2013 Form 990-EZ

2012 Form 990-EZ (covers Mar. 1, 2012 - Dec. 31, 2012, 10 months, change in fiscal year)

2011 Form 990-EZ

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2013 2011 --
Total Revenue $92,171 $11,836 --
Total Expenses $143,130 $2,030 --

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2011 --
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 --
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $91,066 $11,836 --
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $1,105 -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2013 2011 --
Program Expense $130,546 -- --
Administration Expense $12,278 $1,200 --
Fundraising Expense $306 $830 --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.64 5.83 --
Program Expense/Total Expenses 91% 0% --
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 7% --

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2013 2011 --
Total Assets $130,836 $12,653 --
Current Assets $48,524 $12,653 --
Long-Term Liabilities $15,000 $0 --
Current Liabilities $0 $0 --
Total Net Assets $115,836 $12,653 --

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2011 --
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 2.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2011 --
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities -- -- --

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2011 --
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 11% 0% --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

As we look at the landscape of affordable housing on the North Shore, perhaps the biggest challenge we face as an Organization is moving our families out into permanent housing in the shortest time possible, from intake to discharge. Often times, the amount of monthly rent our families can afford on a sustaining level is too high based on their income. Because of this, they need to spend more time in shelter to save for that expense, clogging up the front door for those families who also need assistance. There are simply not enough affordable units on the North Shore for the amount of families that need them and more and more families find themselves experiencing homelessness.
However, the opportunity is there for the taking. As an Organization, we have a big opportunity to address the housing issue that plagues many families on the North Shore. In the short term, we will move forward with using transitional units for families in order to get more families through our front door. While accomplishing that, consideration is given to a multi-pronged approach to addressing the need for additional affordable units. Whether Family Promise will purchase a building, subsidize rental units in the community, or partner with a property management company in the future is yet to be determined. But, our collective Board of Directors agree that if we are truly going to help with a long term vision of sustainability for each family we serve, we must address the affordability of apartments for families in need.

Foundation Comments

This is a newer nonprofit organization. Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990-EZs.
Please note, fiscal year 2012 data is not included in the charts and graphs above as the organization had a change in fiscal year from March 1 - Feb. 28 to calendar year (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31) and as such, the 2012 Form 990 posted above covers 10 months (March 1 - Dec. 31). Further expense breakout detail was obtained from the Form PC on file with the state of MA for fiscal year 2011. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

 The ultimate and overarching goal of Family Promise North Shore Boston is to work toward ending family homelessness on the North Shore of Boston through a community approach that comes alongside individual families experiencing homelessness in the North Shore region. By leveraging the hospitality and resources of our community, we seek to help the families in our program find and maintain permanent, affordable housing. In addition, we seek to raise awareness within the community about family homelessness in our area. Currently, we are working towards these goals by offering shelter accommodations, meals, community hospitality, and comprehensive case management to families in this area experiencing homelessness.

As we seek to grow this program in the next three to five years our strategies as outlined below would allow us to build upon the success we already have by being able to offer services to more families over time and to educate more community members about the problem of family homelessness in this region. In order to accomplish these goals, we need to address barriers that cause many of the families in our shelter program to stay in shelter longer than they may need to. We also must empower our volunteers to advocate in the fight against family homelessness.

Success in this program long-term can be seen in the families who have already completed the shelter program. As they remain stable in housing, this program has created lasting change. Also, when the community who provides the hospitality for families in this program see the success of graduate families, they are able to see the power of a collective response to ending homelessness, advocate for the families in the community who may be facing homeless, and help educate their neighbors to reduce the stigma of family homelessness. We, therefore, will know that we are successful if we are able to graduate more families from this program each year than we were the year before. As those graduate families remain stable, our success continues as well.

 


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

Through working with four families in intensive case management at one time, we have found that these families are able to maintain their housing when they move out. Also, the hospitality aspect of our program is offered by over 1000 trained volunteers who have the chance to interact with families experiencing homelessness and become advocates for the fight against homelessness in our own community.

As we have been utilizing the above methods in our program for the past few years, we have realized that at times families stay in shelter for longer than anticipated due to more challenging barriers they must overcome to be self-sufficient. These barriers include transportation, child care, job and life skills training, and most importantly affordable housing. In order to overcome these barriers in a lasting way for families, we intend to grow and strengthen community partnerships where families in our program can access necessary resources and develop needed skills. We have begun these partnerships with a local childcare facility that is willing to offer reduced rate daycare slots and with a local taxi company who offers reduced rates for families in our program. We have also been in conversations with a local bank, a parent-child center, and the local community college to develop a life skills workshop series where experts in the community help families in our program address some of their barriers. These workshops could also be offered to those families experiencing homelessness in other shelters or those at risk for homelessness in the community, allowing us to serve more community members at one time. These community partnerships will also allow us to connect with a broader network and educate more people in the area about the plight of homeless families on the North Shore.

In addition, we are in the process of securing transitional housing units as a next step for families who have increased their income and are searching for a permanent, affordable housing unit. Often families are motivated to increase their income quickly upon coming into the program, but it has taken time to find an apartment they can afford. This causes them to lag in our shelter program while they wait for adequate housing. With transitional housing units, families would be able to practice the skills of living independently while continuing to work with our organization on budgeting and searching for a permanent apartment. This will reduce the length of stay in our shelter facilities, allowing us to accommodate more families experiencing homelessness in this area.

Finally, as we stratagize about empowering our trained volunteers to become engaged as and advocates against family homelessness, our strategy is to continue to host community events such as the First Annual Walk to End Homelessness that we hosted in October 2014. This event raised over $25,000 for our organization and educated hundreds of walkers about family homelessness in a non-threatening way. As we educate our community, we want them to know that homelessness can happen to anyone and we must find ways to help our neighbors who may be experiencing homelessness. While we work to plan a second annual walk, we are also looking at hosting open houses at our shelter facilities as well as diversifying our audience by offering events like art shows.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Our organization’s greatest asset is the network of over 1000 trained volunteers. Along with our full time director and case manager, we have a pool of expertise to draw from in addressing the barriers that families face upon entering our shelter. We utilize this network to connect families to resources such as employment training, education, and affordable housing. In addition, we are working towards leveraging these resources to provide families in our program with a life skills curriculum taught by experts in the community. This network is key in many of our fundraising strategies as about half of our expected funding comes from contributions from individual supporters and local congregations.

Further, our unique approach in working with families experiencing homelessness is a strength that allows us to pursue our goals effectively. We work intensely with four families at one time, leaning heavily on the expertise of both the director and assistant director who both have extensive backgrounds in social services. While this seems like a small scale approach, we have found that this tactic allows us help families address a multitude of barriers while they are in shelter, preventing them from re-entering shelter once becoming re-housed. Families are also able to be housed in an average of 136 days as opposed to the 229 day average length of stay for families in state shelter. This allows us to help more families over time move out of homelessness and remain stably housed.

 


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

 

There are several measurable indicators by which we track our success as an organization. The first is length of stay for families in the program. Right now our average length of stay is 136 days. However, our goal is to have families become stably rehoused within 90 days of entering this program. As we increase stabilization services for families over the next year, our goal is to reach this average length of stay by the end of 2015. Accomplishing this goal would give way to helping us meet our second benchmark of increasing the number of individuals served from 30 a year to 45 a year by the end of 2015. These benchmarks can only be reached if are able to increase the number of families who are able to obtain employment and increase their income while in the program. Partnering with job training organizations and local businesses as employers will help us meet this goal. We also measure success by the percentage of families who remain stably housed upon exiting the program. At this time 100% of the families who have graduated remain housed, and we would like to retain that statistic even as we increase our numbers. Our goal for success is to work just as effectively with more families by leveraging community involvement.


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

 Now that we have been in operation for over 18 months, we have learned that our intensive and small-scale approach with families is very effective. We see that reflected in our numbers as referenced above, especially in recognizing that all of our graduate families remain stably housed. We have learned how to partner with families in case management so that they feel empowered to achieve their goals and create a sustainable future for their children. As we recognize that the experience of homelessness can be chaotic, we have learned that it is imperative to provide a strong sense of structure and accountability in helping families re-establish themselves.

This track record is beginning to be recognized by businesses in the community as we seek to establish partnerships with them to address barriers that families in our shelter commonly face. Without establishing a strong case management base at the center, local partners would not be as willing to engage in collaboration with us to provide affordable and transitional housing, job training, transportation, or childcare to families to help them get back on their feet.

In pursuing these partnerships, however, we have recognized the need to be out in the community more. Since we have established ourselves, we need to promote this approach to addressing family homelessness across our region so that we might establish effective partners who may not otherwise know about us unless we go to them. With this in mind, we have increased the hours of the assistant director from 30 to 35. We have learned that just as a relational approach is best when working with families in our program; it is also effective in growing our collaborations in the community. With an increased number of collaborations in the next year, we hope to transition families out of shelter more quickly and achieve our overarching goal of serving more families on the North Shore experiencing homelessness.