Fall 2016 Newsletter: Housing and Hope                                     
Dear Friend:

I hope you had an enjoyable summer and are looking forward to cooler days as the fall approaches. FamilyAid Boston's 100th anniversary celebration: 100 Years of Shelter, Housing, and Hope, is right around the corner, and I am pleased to share with you some of the initiatives we have been working on as we head into the final few months of this milestone year.

Thanks to supporters like you, we are well on our way to achieving our 100th anniversary goal of raising $1 million to create more affordable housing in Boston and help families overcome the barriers that keep them from stable housing. I hope you will join me on November 17th at the Exchange Conference Center in Boston's Seaport district to celebrate our 100 years of service as well as our ongoing efforts to make Boston a city in which every family has access to safe, stable housing and a successful future.

100 Years of Shelter, Housing, and Hope will honor Michael Durkin of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and Adrian Walker of the Boston Globe, both of whom have done tremendous work to give voice and hope to homeless parents and children.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of homeless families.

Thank you for being a partner in our efforts to end family homelessness in our community.


Richard E. Ring

Back to School with no Home to return to:

The beginning of a new school year is always stressful for families: coordinating schedules, shopping for supplies, and arranging transportation and afterschool care. Imagine what it would be like if your family was homeless.

Homelessness is an isolating and traumatic experience. When families go into shelter, they are uprooted from their community, which often means that children have to change schools. Chris Berg, FamilyAid Boston's Education and Employment Coordinator, explains: "Every time a child changes schools, it means lost relationships and routines - children have new teachers, classmates, and athletic coaches. It can take children several months to adjust socially and academically. Children are already facing an unstable housing situation, and the stress of a new school environment causes additional trauma. Many students also hide their homelessness for fear of judgement from classmates."

Schools Supplies:
School clothes, uniforms, shoes, backpacks, pencils, pens, glasses - the list goes on and on. Every parent wants to provide their child with the supplies and financial support that they need to succeed in the classroom. The average cost of sending one elementary school student back to school is $650. The cost balloons to $1,400 for high school students. In some cases, students may even face punishment for lacking the appropriate school supplies and uniforms. For homeless parents who are working to regain their stability, these expenses are often unaffordable.

The Digital Divide:
Most schools now require that children have access to a computer in their home in order to complete school work and communicate with parents. This places homeless children at an extreme disadvantage. While living in shelter, families often do not have access to computers or a reliable internet connection. Children who lack access to technology fall behind their peers and are at an increased disadvantage when it comes to succeeding in the 21st century.

Students who can't walk or drive to school must rely instead on public transportation. As many of us know, buses and trains are not always reliable and can be difficult or unsafe for a child to navigate. Late or absent buses lead to tardiness and missed classes, reflecting poorly on a student who has no control over the situation.

Parents with inflexible work schedules, unreliable transportation, and unstable living situations sometimes cannot even get their children to school. Our social workers often find the children that they work with miss valuable lesson time as a result of their instability at home.

There are nearly 4,000 homeless students in the Boston Public Schools. You can help us provide homeless children with the stability they need to succeed in school - Click here to make a donation.

Our 2017 Boston Marathon Team:

We are now accepting applications for our 2017 Boston Marathon Team! As a member of FamilyAid Boston's marathon team, the funds you raise will directly help homeless parents and children in the city of Boston. Below are just a few examples of the profound impact you can make as a member of FamilyAid Boston's Boston Marathon Team:

"I can honestly say that FamilyAid Boston has played a major role in who I am today. As I go through life, I will always remember the lessons that FamilyAid Boston has taught and all the ways you all have changed my life." - Kamini

FamilyAid Boston's Family Fun Fest! 

FamilyAid Boston's recent Family Fun Fest was a huge success! Our client families and staff spent the afternoon at a local park enjoying food, games, music, and much more! Everyone who attended the event had a great time and went home with a full belly, smiling face, and free books! 

Housing and Hope

Jenny, Senior Social Worker in FamilyAid Boston's Rapid Re-Housing program, has worked at FamilyAid Boston for almost four years. The Rapid Re-Housing program places homeless families directly into permanent affordable housing, providing them with a year of rental assistance; counseling; and help with budgeting, employment, and obtaining the resources they need for long-term success. 

Jenny says: "Rapid Re-Housing is a great opportunity for families to get back on their feet. Families in the program are committed to making a better life for their children. They work hard, improve their employment, save money, and address the issues that led them to instability. When they leave the program after a year, they are in a position to sustain their housing and not return to shelter."

The majority of the families in the Rapid Re-Housing program are working single mothers with young children. They are struggling with low wages and high rental prices in Boston. Many families qualify for housing assistance, but due to long waiting lists they are not receiving the housing vouchers they need to provide a home for their families. 

This program is way for families to receive the support they need to regain stability. Jenny says: "When families enter the program, they are struggling to meet the day-to-day needs of their children. They do not have the time to think about or plan for the future. Once they have a stable home, parents have the opportunity to look towards the future with hope." Jenny understands the steep climb that families face and sees them striving for a better future. That, she says, makes her job worthwhile: "Even when our work is hard, we are really making a difference in people's lives."

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