The model outlined below is based on Bridge Communities, a very successful transitional housing program in DuPage County, Illinois.
The congregation or group provides:
- Rental of one apartment ($6,000-$10,000 annually)
- Volunteer mentors to work with the family
- Furniture and housewares for the family, as needed
- Assistance moving the family in and out of the apartment
- Assistance to the property owner with cleaning and repairs
The Road Home Dane County provides
- Intensive case management for families
- Training and supervision of volunteer mentors
- Primary contact and technical assistance to the congregation
YWCA Madison provides
- Employment specialist
- Primary contact for property owners
- Collection of 30% of families’ income and use of this fund to pay utilities, handle financial crises, and support agency program costs
Funding the Project at your Organization
This program will cost between $6,000 – $10,000 a year. That means:
- If 13 families contributed $50 a month
- If 7 families contribute $100 a month
- If 160 people pledge $50 a year
- If 320 people pledge $25 a year
- If 154 people pledge $1.00 a week
Your congregation or group can break the cycle of homelessness for one family.
- The basic effort is an annual appeal letter to your members through a mailing.
- Host a group of members in one member’s home to explain your plan and ask for funds. Pass along a legal pad asking for commitments on the spot.
- Run a lemonade stand or brat stand at a fair or game.
- A dinner at the congregation is always a good event.
- Raffle tickets are good money makers but some find them controversial. Some groups use them a lot and find them very profitable.
- Hold a walk-a-thon, bowl-a-thon, or other event that involves having participants get sponsors to raise funds for your program.
Another key contribution of the congregation or other sponsoring group is the team of volunteer mentors. Mentors support the family in the program in many ways. This can include developing a big brother/big sister-type relationship with the kids in the family, studying with kids or adults in the family and/or assisting with computer skills, working on budgeting and spending plans, or helping with things like trips to the grocery store.
Here are some general guidelines for qualities that would be useful for a mentor to possess:
- Ability to motivate others
- Ability to help others in practical ways
- Accepting and forgiving
- Emotional stability
- Family and job stability
- Someone who does not travel a lot
- Openness to listening
- Tolerant of differences in values
- Team player
- Good follow-through
- Good ability to communicate
- Consistent and able to handle crises
- Involved and known in congregation or other sponsoring group
To learn more, contact the Housing First Coordinator at 608.257.1436, option 2.