Union County News

Aiming to Ensure that 'Children are Homeless No More', Summit's Family Promise Partners with HUMI to House Families Nationwide

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SUMMIT, NJ - Summit-based Family Promise, a national non-profit that helps homeless families achieve sustainable independence, is partnering with 'Help Us Move In' (HUMI), a Washington state-based non-profit which works with communities to fund and create programs helping families facing housing crises.

The model is based on the shared beliefs of the two organizations that a combination of case management, opportunity, and community can empower the families they collectively serve toward self-sufficiency. The mission of the partnership is to ensure children are Homeless No More.

Ten Family Promise Affiliates, from Florida to Oregon, have been selected as program pilots. Each will receive a $20,000 'Homeless No More' challenge grant from HUMI over the next two years -- $10,000 per year -- to launch a program aimed at sustainable prevention and rehousing for families experiencing homelessness.

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The grants are not hand-outs -- with each Affiliate 'challenged' to raise an initial $10,000 before HUMI awards their $10,000 grant. Further, the Affiliate is then expected to engage the community and match the funds with another $20,000 each year. This 'double challenge match' is designed to reinforce a self-sustaining habit of contributions from the community going forward.  

Each Affiliate will establish a working group consisting of a board member, staff representative, Family Promise regional director, HUMI representative, and other interested parties to manage the program within the community. The Affiliate will identify families to receive assistance using the best practice requirements they employ for their client intake process and determine how much temporary assistance each family needs to successfully move into and support a stable home.

The funds are restricted to rental assistance, housing arrears, and move-in expenses, including security deposits. The goal of the Challenge Funds is a 50 / 50 balance between preventing family evictions and assisting families with move-in costs.

“We are thrilled to partner with HUMI,” said Family Promise President Claas Ehlers. “In order to effectively address homelessness, we need to utilize the resources already existing in the community. HUMI helps our Affiliates expand their holistic approach toward preventing families from becoming homeless in the first place and stabilizing families when they regain their housing. We hope this national pilot is just the start of an effort to ensure that thousands of children are not homeless.”

The program has multiple benefits:

  • Supplements existing rehousing / prevention programs
  • Helps families who may not qualify for existing programs
  • Creates community awareness and engagement on the issue of family homelessness
  • Builds lasting relationships with landlords
  • Expands an Affiliate’s programming base
  • Puts children and families into homes

Help Us Move In Executive Director Sharah Scherer is enthusiastic about the two organizations working together.  “Since 2001, we have helped over 1,700 children move into permanent housing.  HUMI is very excited to partner with Family Promise and multiply the impact for vulnerable families across the United States to become homeless no more."

The Affiliates selected for the initial pilot are: Verdugos (CA), Greater Denver (CO), Northern New Castle County (DE), Brevard (FL), Grand Rapids (MI), Morris County/Union County (NJ), Salem (OR), Fort Bend (TX), Greater Roanoke (VA), and Washington County (WI). The goal is to expand the program to 25 next year, using best practices identified in the pilot.

Family Promise was founded in 1988 to address homelessness in Union County, The organization has grown into a national organization with 206 Affiliates in 43 states. Since then, Family Promise has served more than 750,000 people, the majority of them children. Family Promise Affiliates serve nearly 70,000 people each year by providing shelter, food, and a host of other comprehensive support services.

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