EVOLVING TO MEET THE CHANGING NEED
The NEST (Neighbors Experiencing Success Together)
Stability for homeless families is our number one goal. We know that moving families into permanent housing quickly yields better results and makes better use of limited budgets. The government and private funding sources on which we depend expect us to meet the challenge and we are now structured to do just that.
Our programming has been restructured to focus on developing the life skills necessary for self-sufficiency from the minute our guests walk through the door.
Staff helps our guests find employment and become active members of society. Alongside our partners we assume the role of champion, encouraging and inspiring guests in a non-judgmental, loving space. Relationships are based on mutual respect and a firm belief in the inherent value of every human being.
The NEST is our core program that transitions families to stability and self-sufficiency. It helps our guests identify and overcome the root causes of homelessness while teaching essential life skills like financial literacy, employment strategies, and family health and wellness. We work with parents to find jobs and to secure and sustain affordable, permanent housing. In July, FMF transitioned to an
emergency model with a goal of families exiting in 90 days.
The NEST accommodates 21 families (serving 80-100 families per year) in our safe and secure residential environment for up to three months. FMF offers intensive case management and a variety of programs run by our collaborative group of staff, volunteers, faith-based organizations and partner agencies throughout the community. Volunteers play a crucial role by providing warm hospitality and loving support, serving meals and hosting evening programming for both adults and children. Last year, FMF served 67 families through The NEST.
Serving Tomorrow’s Adults
While services for parents are essential, it’s also critical to serve our youngest guests. Infants to five-year-olds are typically the largest population in our temporary housing program (the NEST). Through our new partnership with Care Coordination for Children (CC4C) at the Durham County Department of Health, all children ages 0-5 who enter FMF’s shelter program are assessed. Furthermore, thanks to our new collaboration with Durham’s Partnership for Children (DPfC), we offer targeted services and new interventions for all age groups of our young people. Staff and volunteers teach topics including nutrition, fitness, social issues and the arts, while also providing evening tutoring for our school-age children. We are connecting all of our children to the services they need.
We are confident our “two-generation approach” will speed progress in breaking the cycle of poverty, and we envision other homeless service providers across the country adopting this best-practice model.