Equip Homeless Families With Everything They Need to Obtain Permanent Stability
As of January 2018, Virginia estimated it had 5,975 homeless individuals in the state. That's the size of a small American town. Homelessness is brought on due to a complex chain of disparaging events, usually involving accidents, domestic violence, medical crises, human trafficking, loss of loved ones, or a sudden economic downturn. For many, homelessness triggers a downward spiral of further complications such as debt, health issues, and isolation. This leads to a crushing cycle of poverty and little hope of escape.
Homestretch is one of the few programs in the country with the comprehensive services to gather each homeless family, address the unique dynamics of their story, and enable a permanent transformation. Homestretch empowers homeless parents with children to secure permanent housing and acquire the skills, knowledge and hope they need to achieve lasting economic self-sufficiency. Homeless parents with children entering their program have problems so severe that the local homeless shelters can’t help them. They’re trapped in the system by high debt, ruined credit, chronic health issues, and histories of addiction or felony convictions. All of this creates a deep sense of despair. To uplift a family out of the cycle of homelessness, Homestretch provides critical services for all members of the family: adults, teens, and children. Adults receive language, education, and financial training as well as resources for obtaining steady work. Teens receive guidance and productive activity programing, including mentoring, career counseling, and field trips. Homestretch's child services include wraparound education and developmental programs such as medical services, school advocacy, and access to recreational activities.
Since 1990, Homestretch has helped over 2,000 families achieve permanent housing and self-sufficiency. The average rise in income of a Homestretch graduating family is 186 percent. Also, the average change in credit score of Homestretch is +100. The average family enters Homestretch with about $5,000 in debts, pays those debts off, and graduates with $5,000 in savings – a trajectory of $10,000, using a mere 10% of their gross income. And permanent stability is no longer a dream but a reality—95 percent of Homestretch graduates remain housed and employed 2-5 years after. Graduates of Homestretch have become nurses, accountants, teachers, realtors, chefs, social workers, master plumbers, administrative assistants, commercial drivers, dental hygienists, pharmacy techs, ophthalmologist assistants, pastors, business analysts, restauranteurs, day care owners, cybersecurity professionals, and more. One became a doctor, another a pharmacist. Talk about transformation!