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Ffh St Edwards40209[1]

  1. 1. The Face of Homelessness 2009 Foundation for the Homeless Mobilizing communities of faith to end homelessness in a spirit of compassion, hope and love. Sharon Lowe St. Edward’s University April 3, 2009 1
  2. 2. Sharon Lowe, Executive Director Foundation for the Homeless B.A. Political Science; J.D. (Law); M.A. Pastoral Ministry; Certificate in Spiritual Formation and Direction. Sharon is currently enrolled in the TANO/CCBNO Nonprofit Leadership Management Institute Certificate Program. Sharon’s experience includes 13 years as a government attorney in Massachusetts and Texas practicing in the areas of labor, employment, education, civil rights, energy, contracts and procurements, 5 years in human resources and supply chain management for a high technology company, and 8 years working in volunteer and paid roles in nonprofits serving the poor and poor in spirit. At FFH, Sharon previously served as Interim Director of IHN, Director of IHN-Katrina and as Interim Executive Director before accepting the role of Executive Director. Sharon has served on the boards or governing bodies of The Seton Cove, Wisdom At Work, RiverStone Retreat Center and Central Texas Volunteers Active in Disaster. 2
  3. 3. Agenda How I got involved with poverty  Chronic vs. “Invisible” Homelessness  Myths and Facts About Low Income Families  The homeless impact 2007-2009  Impact of the Recession  The Foundation For the Homeless (FFH)  Family Promise/Interfaith Hospitality Network  Passages Case Management, Life Skills & Supportive Services  Feed My People Breakfast Program  Performance Metrics 2008  How we represent the faith community  Future goals  How you can serve  Summary  3
  4. 4. HUD vs. Educational Definitions of Homelessness HUD defines homelessness as:  an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate  nighttime residence; and an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is  a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed  to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill); an institution that provides a temporary residence for  individuals intended to be institutionalized; or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used  as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. Educational definition reaches “doubled-up” families—those  typically served by Foundation for the Homeless. 4
  5. 5. HUD Definition of Chronic Homelessness  A chronically homeless person is “either (1) an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more, OR (2) an unaccompanied individual with a disabling condition who has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.”  This definition is adopted by HUD from a federal standard that was arrived upon through collective decision making by a team of federal agencies including HUD, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.  HUD definitions of homelessness favor chronically homeless individuals. This population has a higher percentage of veterans and is disproportionately male. These definitions make it harder for low- income families to get help. 5
  6. 6. Myths & Facts About Low-income Working Families MYTH Low-income families do not work. FACT 72% of low-income families work. MYTH Low-income families do not work hard. FACT The average annual work effort for low income working families is 2,552 hours, roughly one and one-quarter full-time jobs. MYTH Low-income working families are headed by single parents. FACT 52% of low-income working families are headed by married couples. Source: The Working Poor Families Project, www.workingpoorfamilies.org 6
  7. 7. Myths & Facts About Low-income Working Families  MYTH Low-income working families are headed by immigrants.  FACT 69% of low-income working families have only American-born parents.  MYTH Low-income working families have very young parents.  FACT 89% of low-income working families have a parent between the ages of 25 and 54. Source: The Working Poor Families Project, www.workingpoorfamilies.org 7
  8. 8. Myths & Facts About Low-income Working Families  MYTH Low-income working families are overwhelmingly minority.  FACT 43% of low-income working families have white, non-Hispanic parents.  MYTH Low-income working families are dependent on public assistance.  FACT Only 25% of low-income working families receive food stamp assistance. Source: The Working Poor Families Project, www.workingpoorfamilies.org 8
  9. 9. Changed Conditions Nationally for Working Poor Families 2002-2006 Number % Number % Working families below 200% of poverty 9,202,809 27.4 9,572,450 28.2 Children in working families below 200% of poverty 20,208,334 32.3 21,061,465 32.8 Working families spend more than a third of 4,615,876 51.9 5,537,965 59.5 income on housing In working families at least one parent without health insurance 3,382,083 36.7 3,772,324 38.7 Adults 25–54 high school degree/GED or less 51,205,868 41.7 53,615,975 42.2 Jobs paying below poverty threshold 24,702,000 19.4 29,390,000 22.2 9
  10. 10. The homeless impact 2007 • Estimated 744,313 homeless people in US •Each night, 100,000+ families across the U.S. are homeless •As many as 1 of 12 poor families are homeless each year •43,000 to 60,000 homeless in Texas •25,000 children ages 5-12 living below poverty line in Travis County and average January 2007 Research Report on Homelessness age of a homeless 10 The National Alliance to End Homelessness person is 9 years old.
  11. 11. 2008 Update Nationally Source: U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, August 2008  The Number Of Americans Living In Poverty Has Increased By Nearly 5.7 Million Since 2000. The number of Americans living in poverty was almost 37.3 million in 2007. The official poverty line for a family of four is $21,027.  The National Poverty Rate Is More Than One Percentage Point Higher Than In 2000. The poverty rate in 2007 was 12.5 percent, increasing slightly from its level of 12.3 percent in 2006. The poverty rate increased for four straight years from 2000 to 2004. In 2007, the poverty rate was 1.2 percentage points higher than it was in 2000. 11
  12. 12. 2008 Update Nationally Source: U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, August 2008  More Than One In Six Children Lives In Poverty. The poverty rate for all children under 18 years of age was 18.0 percent in 2007, increasing from its level of 17.4 percent in 2006. In 2007, approximately half a million more children under 18 lived in poverty than in 2006. Since 2000, the number of children living in poverty has increased by 1.7 million, with the child poverty rate rising from 16.2 to 18.0 percent.  Blacks And Hispanics Are More Likely To Be Living In Poverty. The poverty rate was 24.4 percent for blacks in 2007 and 21.5 percent for Hispanics. The recent increase in the poverty rate among Hispanics is significant. In 2006, the poverty rate for Hispanics was 20.6 percent. Since 2000, the poverty rate among blacks has also increased significantly, rising by almost 2 percentage points. The poverty rates among black and Hispanic children were even higher, at 33.7 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively. 12
  13. 13. Poverty Trends for States 2008 Source: U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, August 2008  Since 2000, The Number of People in Poverty Rose By 20 Percent In The Midwest And The South. The number of poor people in the Midwest region of the country increased by 20 percent while its total population in-creased by only 3 percent.  One-third of states in the Midwest experienced a statistically significant increase in the number of people in poverty. In the South, poverty levels increased by 19 percent, or 2.5 million people.  Half of the states in the South experienced a statistically significant increase in the number of poor people. Mississippi and Texas were hit the hardest. In Mississippi, the poverty rate increased by 6.1 percentage points.  In Texas, the number of people living in poverty increased by over 700,000 people—more than double any other state. 13
  14. 14. Projected Impact of Recession 2009 Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness report January 23, 2009  Projections indicate that if the current recession unfolds as expected, the number of persons in deep poverty will increase by approximately 5.4 million.  866,000 additional Americans will experience homelessness at some point during each of the next two years. Some would be homeless in both years, so the total for both years combined is approximately 1.5 million people who will be homeless as a result of the recession, over and above the number who would experience homelessness under normal circumstances, unless effective countermeasures are adopted. 14
  15. 15. Texas and Austin- 2009  NPR reported that Texas has the fastest growing homeless population in U.S.  National Center on Family Homelessness rated Texas 50th for homeless children, meaning the highest number of actual and at risk children in a state with few interventions  Most recent homelessness count in Austin was 4,600. Estimated about half in families. This number is understated as it does not include the doubled-up and other “invisible” homeless– the families typically served by Foundation for the Homeless 15
  16. 16. Austin Homeless Families  Beyond the estimated 2300 homeless individuals in families, AISD estimates 3000+ students are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  52,000 households in Austin spending 50% or more of total income on housing. These families are one lost job, serious illness or divorce away from homelessness.  Prevention through rent assistance is key but this is normally one time only in 12 months.  Very few shelters serve families and even fewer serve two parent families. 16
  17. 17. Community Responses to Homelessness  The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (1987) provides for a range of services and programs through HUD, HHS, the Department of Education, FEMA and the Department of Agriculture.  Since 1994-95, HUD has utilized a coordinated approach to distribute shelter, housing and supportive services funding within communities known as the Continuum of Care. The CoC is an annual community planning effort. The community rates and ranks proposals first, then HUD grants funds to the entire community based on the strength of their overall proposal.  ECHO is the CoC for Austin Travis County. 17
  18. 18. What are we called to do?  “ But if there are any poor people in your town when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them.” Dt 15:7  “Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is given to you” Lk: 6:21  “Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of you life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.” Thich Nhat Hanh 18
  19. 19. Foundation for the Homeless  For 20 years, FFH has mobilized communities of faith and other resources to end homelessness in a spirit of compassion, hope and love.  We partner with homeless families, 70+ congregations and community groups to build new opportunities for housing, economic and personal wellness through 3 core programs: Family Promise/Interfaith Hospitality Network  Passages  Feed My People  19
  20. 20. City of Austin Rapid Re-Housing Demonstration Project- Began January 2009  FFH is one of nine Basic Needs Coalition partners participating in a 29 month City of Austin grant demonstration project aimed at reducing barriers to housing for low income families and individuals. RRDP will provide a Housing Specialist to broker  housing arrangements with landlords, case managers in the 9 agencies and their clients and provide shallow subsidies to help families move into housing sooner and stay longer. Case Managers must serve RRDP families for minimum  of 12 months. No funds are provided for case management.  9 Agencies: Caritas-lead, Salvation Army, Safeplace, Lifeworks, FFH, Catholic Charities, Any Baby Can, AIDS Services of Austin and Goodwill. 20
  21. 21. How is Foundation for the Homeless unique?  Only organization in the Austin area that routinely provides temporary housing/shelter and case management services to two parent families and keeps them together using borrowed congregational facilities. 21
  22. 22. How is Foundation for the Homeless unique?  We are not a “big box” shelter that warehouses people. We offer comfortable, homelike conditions in our Day Resource Center and in the facilities provided by congregations.  Each evening, caring volunteers at two congregations make and share a meal with four to five families who are their dinner, overnight and breakfast guests. 22
  23. 23. How is Foundation for the Homeless unique?  We provide free van transportation to IHN families helping them save money and maintain continuity of work, school, day care, etc, as they shift to a new congregation each week.  By coordinating equipment and borrowed facilities as temporary housing and by actively recruiting and preparing volunteers, we offer cost effective, homelike conditions for homeless families and help create ministries of care within and across congregations. 23
  24. 24.  FFH’s Family Promise is based on a national model Provides temporary housing and direct assistance for  homeless families  Operating in 38 states and the District of Columbia  Major Components of Family Promise/Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN)  Host and support congregations work in collaboration to provide shelter space, meals, volunteer support and companionship. FFH provides:  Administrative oversight, fundraising, program coordination,  and equipment to participating IHN congregations. Case management, transportation, direct assistance and  supportive services for participating families. FFH recruits and trains congregations, community groups and  volunteers. 24
  25. 25. Foundation For the Homeless Focusing resources from communities of faith on the needs of homeless and working poor families  Passages Case Management - federally-funded collaboration among 7 agencies- Salvation Army (lead), Caritas (fiscal agent), Lifeworks, Family Connections, Safeplace, Foundation Communities and FFH  At FFH, serves current (homeless) and “graduated” (working poor) IHN families to provide: Case Manager- Works with to access resources and advocates for families as they  create and work through their service plan to address issues and improve family economic security and wellbeing. Housing Assistance-  TBRA for 6 or 12 months with possible extension for 6 months; or  1st month’s rent and deposit for families entering open market housing.  Job Search and Training Assistance  Childcare Assistance- accessed through Family Connections or WorkSource  Life Skills Training   Budgeting  Stress management  Household management  Communication & Parenting skills  Nutrition 25
  26. 26. Foundation For the Homeless Focusing resources from communities of faith on the needs of homeless and working poor families  Feed My People  Serves the downtown chronically homeless  30,000 hot meals a year  Hot showers  Haircuts & massages  Eyeglass referrals, hygiene articles & clothing  Bus passes and help with Greyhound tickets  Birth certificates and ID documents on hold pending new grant award. 26
  27. 27. How we represent the spirit of compassion Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sound. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world. -Thich Nhat Hanh 27
  28. 28. How we represent faith communities Thomas Merton said: The saving grace of God…is proclaimed to man existentially in the love, the openness, the simplicity, the humility, and the self- sacrifice that we show to one another. It is through the active application of faith to problems that we make God visibly present in the world. 28
  29. 29. Foundation For the Homeless Focusing resources from communities of faith on the needs of homeless and working poor families Performance Metrics 2008  Served 40 families, (131 individuals) through IHN, 91% exited into safe, stable housing.  Served 59 current and former IHN families, (184 individuals) through Passages for up to 18 months.  Served 300-400 individuals hot breakfasts and services through Feed My People twice each week or 30,000+ meals.  3,000 volunteers provided 60,000 meals, nearly 12,000 bed nights and 50,000 hours of caring presence. 29
  30. 30. Future Goals of FFH “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not see it?” (Isa.43:18-19) Work with more low-income families and individuals  Recruit new congregations for a third IHN network  Increase capacity and options for temporary housing/shelter  Collaborate to provide prevention and shelter diversion benefits,  more transitional and affordable permanent housing  Build a sustainable package of programming, goods and services available to Austin’s low-income families that will help them gain self-sufficiency and escape poverty. 30
  31. 31. Ways You Can Help- Learn more about child and family homelessness  National Alliance to End Homelessness- www.endhomelessness.org/ National Association for the Education of Homeless  Children and Youth -www.naehcy.org/ National Center for Homeless Education  -www.serve.org/nche National Center on Family Homelessness-  www.familyhomelessness.org National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty-  www.nlchp.org National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness  -www.npach.org One Family Campaign -www.onefamilycampaign.org  Horizons for Homeless Children (MA)  -www.horizonsforhomelesschildren.org 31
  32. 32. Ways You Can Help  Get involved with community groups such as:  Community Action Network- Convenes meetings with interest groups, government and nonprofits surrounding community needs.  ECHO- Leads the Continuum of Care federal funding plan for Austin Travis County  Basic Needs Coalition- advocacy and think tank for basic needs services  CTOSH- UT email list serve for homeless issues  AAHSA-Austin Area Human Services Association  ACC/Center for Community Based Nonprofits  Communicate  Visit Foundation for the Homeless on Facebook  Twitter us at: For the Homeless 32
  33. 33. Advocate to end hunger, homelessness and poverty The Capital Area Food Bank of Central Texas has information on hunger, related legislation and advocacy tools for beginners that you can access at: www.austinfoodbank.org/take-action Consider writing to local publications and elected officials about these issues. 33
  34. 34. Advocacy: Researching Elected Officials  U.S. Senate: http://www.senate.gov  U.S. House: http://www.house.gov  Texas Senate: http://www.senate.state.tx.us  Texas House: http://www.house.state,tx.us 34
  35. 35. Advocacy: Researching Voting Records of Elected Officials  Thomas (http://thomas.loc.gov) provides records on legislation, votes, committees  Congressional Record-published daily-http:// www.gpoaccess.gov/crecord  Other websites of interest for your advocacy:  Sojourner’s Magazine on-line: www.sojonet.com, See, The Poverty Forum  www.change.gov  www.HUD.gov 35
  36. 36. Ways You Can Help  Volunteer or Donate Goods  Foundation for the Homeless- contact: Brie Hill, bhill@foundationhomeless.org or 453-6570 FFH-Furniture and House Wares-contact: Paul Mowry of Movin’ and  Groovin’ at Covenant Presbyterian Church, pmowry@statesman.com http://www.covenant.org/mission-ministry/movin-and-groovin  Become “philanthropic”—donate cash for causes Visit the “I Live Here, I Give Here” website to learn more about the  issues, work and needs of charitable organizations in Central Texas www.ilivehereigivehere.org To FFH:  On-line at: www.foundationhomeless.org Mail: P.O. Box 28006, Austin, TX 78755 36
  37. 37. Ways you can serve at FFH  Mobilize your volunteers and contact FFH  Share our vision with your communities  Make homelessness and poverty a funding, mission and service priority for your congregation and in your charitable giving  Help drive volunteer service and charitable giving at your workplace, school and other community groups  Take ownership of our shared ministry 37
  38. 38. Summary  Homelessness can be eliminated within 10 yrs  You have a passion for the solution  FFH is the productive & cost effective way! 38