Families Forward Community Connections - Winter 2018
Families Forward Takes on New County-Wide Role
Families Forward is excited to announce its new role as the  Family Hub for the Family Solutions Collaborative's effort to streamline services to homeless families across 34 cities.  Families Forward will now work with  211OC and a network of homeless service providers to provide backbone support, coordination, and accountability to agencies working hard to alleviate and prevent family homelessness in Orange County. 

This change emerged out of the findings of Family Assessment Week, an inter-agency effort to quantify the scope and nature of family homelessness in May 2017. This initiative involved collaboration between nine agencies and 60 volunteers who went to the places where homeless families frequent (e.g. schools, community centers, faith communities, etc.) and assessed the needs of the homeless children and parents they encountered. The effort resulted in the identification of 131 homeless families (approximately 455 children and their parents) who were not yet connected with services. This was significantly more than anticipated and demonstrated the potential for county-wide improvements in service coordination. Families Forward will lead these improvements in its new role over the course of 2018. 

Interested in learning more? Contact Elizabeth Andrade  to discuss Families Forward's growing role in creating system change within Orange County.
Feed Orange County Families this Spring

Families Forward hopes to gather 150 barrels of food, enough to feed 4,000 children and adults, between March and May in  anticipation for the summer when school is out and families rely more heavily on the Food Pantry. Will you help us get ready? 
Opportunities to serve:
  • Spring Community-Wide Food Drive - Volunteer yourself or a group to collect food at local grocery stores March 10-11. Contact Katie Szymczak to learn more and sign up today!
  • Host an organizational food drive - Engage your office, school, group, or faith community in a drive. Click here to learn more and register.
  • Give a gift to the Food Pantry - A gift today can help support food pantry staff and enable Families Forward to purchase key items when pantry shelves are low. Donate a gift today!
Free Health and Social Services at the Community Resource Fair 

Join Families Forward for the 10th annual Community Resource Fair on Saturday, April 28 from 10 AM-1 PM at Irvine Valley Community CollegeLast year, over 770 residents and 180 agency representatives attended to receive FREE services such as:
  • Health Screenings: Blood Pressure, BMI Testing, Dental Screening, Disaster Preparedness, Glucose Testing
  • Dental Clinic
  • Consultations: Career, Financial, Legal, Housing, Medical, Social Services, Parenting Advice
  • Haircuts for All (While Available)
  • Groceries (While Supplies Last)
  • Food Stamps & Health Insurance Enrollment (Medi-Cal, Covered California - For Social Service enrollments, please bring driver's license, social security card, verification of all income, property & citizenship)
To learn more about the Community Resource Fair and how you can get involved, please visit our website
"Primary Mission Partnerships" Launch at Families Forward
Faith communities have been critical to Families Forward's success and growth since the organization's founding in 1984. For over 30 years, University United Methodist Church has been a key faith partner, providing volunteers, meeting space, and financial support.
This year, Families Forward is celebrating and deepening its collaboration with University UMC by entering into a  Primary Mission Partnership. The partnership includes a set of shared goals, success measures, and monthly volunteer opportunities for members of the church. Members of the congregation lead congregational involvement in varying initiatives (ex. Community-Wide Food Drives, Adopt-a-Family, Back-to-School, etc.) by working closely with Families Forward staff and reporting monthly on goal progress. 
Are you interested in exploring the potential of a Primary Mission Partnership for your faith community, company, school, or group? Contact Katie Szymczak to start a conversation today!
Marine Corps Veteran & Family Find Stability

Charlie* was a 3x combat Marine Corps veteran when he began working in the oil fields of Texas. When the economy turned, Charlie lost his job and eventually his home. His wife and children came to California to live with his wife's family, and Charlie went to Michigan to stay with other relatives. 

After a year apart, Charlie reunited with his wife in California but the family did not have a place to call their own. Charlie began living in his vehicle where he stayed until he connected with the  Strong Families, Strong Children Collaborative, a coalition of nonprofits that partner with Families Forward to serve military-connected families.  After completing the intake process, Charlie and his family moved into a Families Forward interim housing unit. 

Charlie's Families Forward Case Manager helped him apply for the Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) Section 8 voucher and submitted an application to a local union for pipe-fitting in hopes that it would assist him in re-entering his previous career field. The family used their VASH voucher to move into an affordable housing unit in Capistrano Beach. Charlie was also accepted into the union and started school and a new job in January 2018. 

*Name changed to honor client privacy.
How you can help!
Families Forward relies on the support of the community, whether through volunteering, referring families in need of assistance, 
product donations or financial contributions.  

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

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

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