Through partnerships with a number of human service agencies and organizations, we have the opportunity to manage targeted programs that have specific, measurable goals. HOPE for Stable Families is one of those programs. Through funding provided by United Way of Central Iowa and the Siemer Institute, the Stable Families program assists families experiencing a housing crisis because of temporary financial issues.
Before we talk about the specifics of the program, it is important to understand the fundamentals of why we work so hard to make sure families have access to good, affordable housing. Safe, secure housing is the foundation for low-income families to build upon. Safe, secure and good housing means the families have their own space – not sharing an apartment with extended family members or sleeping on couches in a friend’s home. Data shows if a family has housing, along with supportive services, they can grow and prosper, children do better in school, and parents bring in more income.
That’s why programs like HOPE for Stable Families exist. It is for families who have experienced a financial bump in the road – a loss of a job, an illness, a large unexpected expense. Whatever happened, it takes a family that was doing okay before and creates a crisis. With the tightening rental market and the low number of family emergency shelter beds in Polk County, this program offers a solution to help families retain their housing, avoid eviction and prevents them from becoming homeless. To do this, HOME, Inc. provides a combination of integrated services including case management, emergency and short-term financial assistance, and referrals to partner agencies in order to ensure school and housing stability for the family.
Families participating in the program are identified by partner agencies and landlords. Qualified families are:
- Typically no more than two months behind financially.
- Capable of stabilizing their finances, which includes having an income.
- Willing to work on a budget and set financial goals.
- Within the boundaries of the Des Moines Public Schools and have school aged children.
- In the program for no more than one year.
- Maintain contact with their case manager.
In six years, Stable Families has supported 215 families, including 496 children. The average financial assistance provided to a family is $2,500. In the last fiscal year, of the families who participate in the program 100% have developed and maintained a budget. But, more impressively, a majority of the participants have also improved their financial health and 94% retained their housing.
HOPE for Stable Families is just one way we help create housing opportunities. If you have questions, contact our case manager at 515.243.1277 ext. 222