WHAT IS IT?
Families Forward is a rapid re-housing assistance program aimed at assisting families transition quickly from homelessness to independent living. It is a collaborative effort between local homeless shelters, advocacy agencies and the community. A main goal of the program is to move families rapidly from the local homeless shelters, providing more space at their agencies for emergency housing needs. It is also supportive in nature, providing follow-up, case management and goal-setting assistance during the course of the program.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Eligible participants in the program must currently live in a local homelessness shelter, temporary housing arrangement (i.e., doubled-up with family or friends), or face imminent and unavoidable eviction. They must have at least one child in the home under 18 years of age. The family must have sustainable monthly income and be willing to work on a plan to maintain rent independently at the end of the Families Forward program.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Families identify and apply for a rental unit. If the family is accepted with a signed lease, the landlord enters into a one-year housing payment agreement with Common Ground. Common Ground pays the deposit and the first three month’s rent in full. For each quarter thereafter, the rent will be adjusted so that the tenant is responsible for a larger portion of the rent. At the end of the year, the family will assume full responsibility for rent.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT?
Unlike traditional models which assist homeless families in a multi-unit shelter environment, this program works with clients in a family-selected rental unit which becomes their permanent housing at the end of the program. Also, families will be fully supported during their year in the program. Per the terms of a program contract with Common Ground, tenants will be required to participate in Central Missouri Community Action’s Family Advocacy Program (or similar client advocacy/goal-setting program in the community) during the course of the year. Common Ground will also follow up with the family on a monthly basis to ensure the tenant contract is being honored and that the family is making progress on their goals.