ForKids Programs & Services
Families enter our residential programs in a fragile state; their acute needs include chronic hunger, disabilities, domestic violence, mental illness and housing-related debt. In addition, the current economic crisis has created a new reality: homelessness and threats of homelessness are no longer conditions faced solely by the poor, uneducated and unemployable. Homelessness has gone mainstream and is bringing in its wake an entirely new class of needy—those who have always been self-sufficient, stable and financially solvent.
ForKids has developed a unique Continuum of Services to meet the wide spectrum of need found in homeless families. Throughout our programs, the focus is on developing self-sufficiency through case management, counseling, life skills education, children’s services, mental and physical health care services, transportation, and childcare. In addition, our extensive Children’s Services program targets the intellectual, emotional, social, and developmental well-being of our children, with the goal of preparing them for success in school and independent futures. We believe in providing opportunities — not handouts.
- Haven House & Suffolk House Emergency Shelters: Up to 20 families with 40 children live in ForKids Emergency Shelters each day. In the shelters service teams work with each family to identify emergency needs, develop service plans to address those needs, and find solutions to critical housing barriers such as landlord debt, housing judgments and utility debt. Families may stay in emergency shelter for up to 120 days as they gain essential skills and work toward self-sufficiency. 79% of the families leaving Haven House and Suffolk House exited to permanent or transitional housing.
- Morgan Place & Elizabeth Place Transitional Housing: For families with significant housing barriers, our transitional housing programs provide the essential time and intensive services needed to stabilize employment and mental health, continue education, and reduce debt. Families work through a 90 day services plan which addresses housing barriers and develops long-term workable solutions to entrenched poverty and homelessness. 12 families with 24 children live in individual family apartments each night. 80% of families leaving Morgan Place or Elizabeth Place exited to permanent or transitional housing.
- Legacy Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH): Legacy provides a safe home and support services for 10 families with 20 children when a parent is disabled and always need services to remain stable. This positive, family-centered alternative to relegating children of disabled parents to the foster care system provides an opportunity for children to grow and develop in a safe and supported atmosphere. 72% of Legacy children improved their grades in school, 100% advanced toward developmental milestones, and 100% of families who left exited to permanent housing.
- Aftercare: When families leave ForKids residential programs, a case manager continues to provide critical support to help stabilize housing. In addition to services for parents, 50 children receive tutoring through our Hot Meals & Homework program. These children, who require intensive educational support to overcome the effects of long-term poverty and lack of stable housing, are paired with a community volunteer who works with them on a weekly basis to meet educational goals. 61% of children attending Hot Meals and Homework improved their grades or maintained a passing grade of 2.0 or higher.
- In-Home Housing Stabilization Services: In response to the need for case management services for overflow families who cannot be housed in our residential programs, and for families at risk of becoming homeless, we have developed In-Home Housing Stabilization Case Management. Under contract with the Cities of Norfolk, Suffolk and Chesapeake, and utilizing funds provided through the stimulus package Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP), in FY10 we will provide case management services to an active case load of 250 families living in our community who have been affected at the most basic level by the economy – their homes. 91% of families remained stably housed at year end.
- 24 Hour Homeless Emergency Response Hotline: Staff are available by phone 24/7 in both Norfolk and Suffolk to help homeless families assess resources and meet emergency needs.