From mid April to the end of August we have provided rent relief, utility assistance or car repairs to sixteen families. To put this number in context, during our first five years of existence, we averaged serving 20 families a year. Certainly prevention and shelter are very different, but we are happy that during the midst of the pandemic we are on pace to serve more families. It is likely that without the prevention program some of these families would have lost their homes. The above statistics provide some insight into who we are serving through our Family Homelessness Prevention Program. Please note:
44% have a monthly income of $1000 or less.
Average cost for a two bedroom apartment in Waukesha County is about $1000
77% need assistance due to a job loss or reduced hours
67% have two or more children in the home
One of the stark realities of the program is learning the challenging situations many of these families are experiencing. Those involved in financial planning will say that no more than 30% of a person's income should go toward housing costs. Most of those who apply for assistance spend close to or more than 50% of their income toward housing. This is due to low paying jobs or housing that is not affordable. Housing and prevention will not be enough. We do need to look at issues such as minimum wage and affordable housing in Waukesha County.
We also know the prevention program has potential to grow. Please keep this program in the forefront of your mind and share it with those you know who may need assistance.
Watch a video replay of our Virtual Town Hall Meeting this past Tuesday. If you ever have any questions or issues you wish to discuss about how Family Promise of Waukesha County is moving forward in these challenging times do not hesitate to ask.
3. NORTH STREET VIDEO TOUR
We offer this video of 139 E. North Street, as a way for you to see our new facility. We are in the process of planning our improvements. Once those are complete we anticipate having a safe and physically distanced open house of in person tour. Until then, we hope this gives you an understanding of the new facility.
4. GROWING UP POOR IN AMERICA
“When I am trapped I actually feel depressed. Even though kids shouldn’t be depressed, I feel like it really makes us depressed . . . sometimes I do cry.. I feel drained and dark.”
Frontline aired a documentary called Growing Up Poor in America . It’s the view of poverty and homeless in the United States through the eyes of children. The stories the children tell are not different than the sentiments of families experiencing homelessness in Waukesha County.
5. HEROES OF THE WEEK
Family Promise of Waukesha County has over 1000 volunteers. Most of these individuals serve as a volunteer through their congregation. This means that when their faith community hosts or supports families staying in their church they make or serve meals, offer fellowship, sleep overnight in the Church or help with set-up or take down. Other volunteers help with mailings, drive the van, assist with administrative tasks, or participate in a committee, and many more tasks. We want to periodically recognize a volunteer (or three) in this newsletter. This is not to say that their service is better than anyone else. It is to acknowledge the goodness of people, especially during this divisive time. It also is to acknowledge that this organization relies almost 100% on the generosity of others. This is good news! We are extremely happy and fortunate to have all of our volunteers. If you would like to nominate a volunteer please click on the button below. And remember for every volunteer we acknowledge there are at least 1000 more who offer similar service to families experiencing homelessness.
Today we recognize Roger Newton and the new maintenance crew of Family Promise. Roger shares the reasons he got involved, the rewards of volunteering and his challenges. Click the photo to read the story.