Families Forward Community Connections - Summer 2017
1,350 Children to Receive School Supplies this Year 
Families Forward wants to ensure that every child has what they need to be successful in school. That is why we collect and distribute thousands of backpacks, school supplies, and clothing items every August. Many thanks to the faith communities, corporations, and individuals who are making it possible for us to serve over 1,350 children this 2017-18 school year!

Contact  Katie Szymczak at 949-379-8325 for more information on helping local families with Thanksgiving baskets, gifts for the holidays, and more.
Annual Gala in September - Tickets on Sale NOW
Click here to view a  full program and here to  learn about this year's  honorees
Can't make it? Celebrate with us by  supporting a family today !  
New Family CareCenter Opens in Orange
Families Forward is celebrating the opening of HomeAid of Orange County's brand new 56-bed Family CareCenter this month. This emergency shelter is designed specifically for parents with minor age children. It will serve approximately 10-15 families per day for a total of 500 families per year. 
Families Forward looks forward to collaborating closely with Mercy House, the service operator at the Family CareCenter, as the shelter will provide a safe place for families to live until they find an apartment of their own with the help of our trained staff. Click here to learn more about how valuable this resource will be for struggling families in our community.
Three-Day Census Identifies 189 Homeless Families
Families Forward is proud to be a part of the A2 Cohort, a coalition of homeless service providers dedicated to ending family homeless in Orange County by 2020. The group (featured above) celebrated a major accomplishment in May when it conducted Orange County's first Family Assessment Week. The goal of this three-day effort was to locate and assess local homeless families through the collective work of 10 organizations and 62 volunteers. In total, the count identified 186 homeless or nearly homeless families. At least 130 literally homeless families were connected with housing resources through the effort.

Click here to see the full results of Family Assessment Week 2017 and here to read the O.C. Register's coverage of the initiative. 
Prevention & Diversion Program Growing Steadily
In 2016, Families Forward implemented its pilot Homelessness Prevention & Diversion (P&D) Program with the goal of assisting families in avoiding the costly and traumatic experience of homelessness.  Families Forward's dedicated team of P&D volunteers make it possible for us to offer personalized over-the-phone support and resources to these families, aiding their ability to remain stably housed. 

Since beginning in 2016, Families Forward has connected with approximately 385 clients. At least 70 families reported maintaining or improving their housing situation as a result of the program. That is an average of 245 adults and children who avoided homelessness through the efforts of our amazing P&D volunteers and staff. Thanks team!
Grace's Story

Grace had been trapped in a domestic violence situation for 10 years. Her husband had not allowed her to work, and was providing her with a monthly allowance. Grace had saved every month and was ready to leave the situation, but could not identify employment or housing due to her lack of employment history and poor credit. That is when she spoke with the Prevention and Diversion team at Families Forward.

Through Families Forward, Grace was connected with OC OneStop, who helped her create a resume and find stable, full-time employment. She then worked with a real estate agent specializing in families with poor credit, who identified an affordable unit near her extended family. Grace was then bridged into the supportive services of the OC Family Justice Center, who helped her obtain a restraining order against her husband, provided counseling services, and provided her access to free legal assistance.

Grace continues to work full-time and live in her permanent home. Her marriage was dissolved and her ex-husband moved out of state. She continues to utilize counseling services, and has continued to increase her savings through the Sparkpoint Program. She was even able to purchase her very own vehicle through an additional resource. Through the Prevention & Diversion Program, Grace was able to prevent herself and her children from experiencing homelessness and was connected with community resources to ensure her future success.
Interested in becoming a P&D volunteer? Contact  Alexandra Del Castillo  at 
Donated Car Changes a Family's Life
Families Forward would like to extend a huge thank you to  Recycled Rides and  Service King Collision Repair Centers for providing a vehicle to another very deserving Families Forward client. This is the third vehicle the group has  generously donated to families served through our Housing Program over the past two years.

This month's car went to a single mom of three boys. The family was living in their vehicle when they approached Families Forward. Now they have stable housing, reliable transportation, and a brighter future.  
How You Can Help
Families Forward relies on the support of the community, whether through volunteering, product donations or financial contributions.  

Your commitment to bettering the lives of vulnerable families makes the difference.

Families Forward | info@families-forward.org | (949) 552-2727

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