Organization’s overall annual budget: $4,313,770

Requested dollar amount for this grant: $40,000

Suggested dollar amount for this grant: $10,000 – $40,000

Description of how the funds will be used: Impact Giving funds will be used for the Families Forward Housing Program, which will serve approximately 150 families or 525 homeless and near homeless parents, most of whom are single mothers and their minor aged children. Orange County doesn’t have an emergency system in place to help these families. The goal is for the families to become independently and stably housed. Families Forward provides a full range of housing solutions for families including emergency motel stays, brief interim housing assistance, and affordable housing opportunities.

Description of Project/Program: what makes it compelling, and the specific needs it will address: It is hard to believe that more than 32,000 children are homeless or unstably housed in affluent Orange County. Due to the high cost of basic living needs including rent, transportation and childcare, families can suddenly lose their housing when an unforeseen expense or disruption occurs. A job loss, sudden illness or a rent increase can often push families beyond their financial limits and result in them losing their home. Since 1984 Families Forward has provided homeless families in Orange County with a place to call home.

Describe the Organization or Project as it pertains to the following Impact Giving Grant Standards: High Impact, Direct Benefit, Education, Sustainability, Community Building, Innovative, and Measurable:

High Impact/Direct Benefit: Families that come to Families Forward for assistance often have nowhere else to turn. They are usually single parents struggling on one income, or families blindsided by a child’s medical diagnosis. Families Forward makes a direct impact on these families by giving them the tools they need to cope with their circumstances and provide stability for their children. All clients in the Housing Program transform their lives through their own determination and perseverance. There is no greater satisfaction for a family than the ability to overcome the crisis of homelessness and land on their feet, in their own home. This program directly benefits clients by helping a once fractured family become whole again.

Education: Families Forward offers an array of educational opportunities meant to improve coping and life skills. Families are offered counseling in the form of one to one solutions-focused based sessions, or group sessions with topics that range from job loss to women’s support. In case management meetings families are taught critical skills regarding money management and budgeting as well as tenant rights.

Community Building/Innovative: Families Forward has been innovative in forging relationships with apartment communities, encouraging partners in the business sector to help end homelessness. Housing partners have agreed to waive certain fees, deposits, credit restrictions and, in some cases, lowering rents for the initial months of the family’s lease. Through strong relationships in the community, Families Forward recently was able to acquire and rehabilitate an affordable housing fourplex of their own to manage and rent. With vacancies low and rents high, this innovative approach makes it possible for homeless families to access housing.

Sustainable/Measurable: Since 1984, Families Forward has maintained a steady source of funding solidifying their sustainability. The program relies on government grants, private foundations and corporate grants as well as the generosity of the community through contributions and in kind donations. In terms of measurability, Families Forward has had continued success. Over the last year, 96% of families surveyed one year post-graduation remained stably housed. They anticipate that 100% of families who enter the Housing Program will no longer be homeless or housing insecure; 85% of families will secure and maintain stable housing long term (follow up is conducted 6 months to one year post graduation); 75% of families will increase or maintain their annual income long term.

Organization’s Mission Statement: The mission of Families Forward is to help families in need achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through food, housing, counseling, education and other support services. Families Forward is committed to serving each family with the core values of dignity, empowerment, accountability, community spirit, and hope.