The Housing and Stabilization Program and More
Housing stability is the overall goal of all Family Promise of Essex County (FPE) programs. Using a housing first approach, FPE believes families experiencing homelessness cannot resolve their crisis until they are stably housed. Every family that comes to FPE is assigned a Case Manager to help the family find and move into permanent housing as quickly as possible. Sometimes providing a security deposit or first month’s rent is all a family needs to get back into permanent housing, other families need a little more help. Once a family has moved into permanent housing FPE provides training and other opportunities for families to continue to improve their household income, support networks and overall wellbeing.
In 2022, FPE partnered with Circles USA to launch Circles Essex, a new stabilization initiative and the first chapter of the organization in New Jersey. Circles Essex provides an additional layer of opportunity for motivated families to improve their financial situation and avoid a repeat episode of homelessness.
Circles Essex’s mission is to reduce poverty throughout Essex County and to remove barriers that keep people in poverty. We do this by building bridges of friendship across income lines and community that support individuals and families on their journey from surviving to thriving. In Circles, while participants navigate their way toward economic stability, volunteers get an in-depth education on the culture of poverty and a new perspective of their community.
Communities across the nation are using Circles because the results are so encouraging. After 18 months, those in the program achieve an average 71% increase in their income, and they experience an increase in the number of people they can call on for support. Communities have also seen changes at the system level, revising unjust eviction policies, fighting predatory loan practices, and engaging in advocacy efforts to mitigate the Cliff Effect. Circles has a real, proven impact.
Youth & Family
FPE maintains a resource center in Montclair, where our professional social service staff provides ongoing case management, workshops and activities for FPE program participants, both adults and children. The workshops and activities cover a range of topics including job search and interviewing, budget management, landlord/tenant relationships, parenting, and healthy lifestyles. Youth are provided with academic tutoring, after school enrichment activities, educational and community building field trips and summer camp opportunities. In addition, FPE provides school supplies and, when possible, clothing as well as birthday and holiday gifts.
The Circles program includes a specific youth track that is designed to enhance a child’s love for learning while offering activities that promote creativity and problem solving. It covers the core themes the children’s parents will study: building relationships, respect and financial literacy and other topics such as bullying and learning habits.
Facts concerning children experiencing homelessness
- They are four times more likely to show delayed development.
- They are twice as likely to have learning disabilities as non-homeless children.
- Within one year, 41 percent of homeless children attend two different schools and 28 percent attend three or more schools. Each change sets them back four to six months.
- When in grades three to 12, only 48 percent of homeless children were proficient in reading and only 43 percent were proficient in math.
(Facts gathered from National Center on Family Homelessness, Coalition for the Homeless, and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.)
Thank you to Sterling National Bank, a supporter of Family Promise Essex’s Family and Youth Program!
Does your family need assistance?
- Does your family need shelter?
- Are you looking for prevention or stabilization services?
- Do your children need an after school program?