Our Outreach to Homeless Families program helps families with children who are experiencing homelessness but who cannot enter the homeless shelter system due to capacity issues. In Fiscal 2019 Friends Associations worked with nine families, including 20 children. 96% of the children were below the age of 12. This program began as a direct response to a community need identified through the Chester County Decade to Doorways: 10 Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness Initiative.
Families are referred by Connect Points. Once a referral is received, our case manager immediately reaches out to the family and arranges to meet them where they are. Sometimes that is at a local library and sometimes they are staying with family members or friends. At that initial meeting an evaluation of the families’ needs is made and an initial emergency plan is created. Often, we are able to stabilize the families where they are and then work with them to address their issues until they are back in permanent homes of their own. Alternately, we work to make the family safe and support them until shelter space becomes available.
Our ultimate goal for this program is that families will find permanent housing and never have to re-enter an emergency shelter.