At PLM Families Together, we focus on stable housing first for families experiencing homelessness. This simple but powerful concept is a nationally-recognized best practice. We take away the trauma and distraction of being without a home by housing families first and then providing a comprehensive system of support. Time and again this has shown to be an effective and compassionate way to lift a family out of homelessness and onto a firm path toward independence.
Our programs –
– are designed to help families break the cycle of homelessness, stay together, and return to living independently in the community.
Immediate Shelter + Intensive Support
Families that are “literally” homeless — meaning they have no place to go and are living in places not meant for habitation, are served by PLM Families Together by moving into one of our 10 Short-term Housing apartments. Once they are safe and warm in the privacy of single-family living, they will stay, at no cost, for 2-4 months.
And this is when the real transformation begins.
Each family works one-on-one with a Mentor Advocate (Masters-level Social Worker), to create and carry out a plan of action. During that time, the family meets weekly with the Mentor Advocate. They deposit 50% of their income into an escrow account, and attend PLM Families Together workshops on topics like budgeting, renting, and how to work with a landlord. Mentor Advocates also coordinate special services as needed (disability, educational assessment, school transportation, food, furniture, transportation, etc.).
The goal of Short-term Housing: Help a family re-gain its stability and return to independence and permanent housing — paid for with their own money.
But it doesn’t end there.
When a family leaves Short-term Housing and moves into its own place, care continues through “Aftercare.” Mentor Advocate support and guidance — plus landlord mediation — last an additional 12-14 months. This key piece of the PLM Families Together model increases the chances of continued success for the family.
Re-housing Support: First, a Place to Live
Many families that are homeless you won’t see on the streets because they may have found a temporary place to stay — like with a friend or relative, or in a hotel. These are still families in crisis because they don’t know what tomorrow will look like.
PLM Families Together Re-Housing Support enables these families to move directly from homelessness into their own housing. It is a newer concept, but one that works and is being adopted across the country.
Once in this program, a family stays where it is, but has immediate access to a Mentor Advocate (Masters-level Social Worker), who guides and empowers them as they seek permanent housing. Financial assistance from PLM Families Together is provided for initial rent costs and gradually decreases as families meet their goals. Each family is expected to move to stable housing, under its own lease, within 60 days of enrollment (the current average is 40 days).
Long-term support is crucial.
Even after families move into their own places through Re-housing Support, Mentor Advocates continue to work with them for 12-14 months in “Aftercare,” helping them gain skills for budgeting and working with landlords, and coordinating assistance for needed services.
PLM Families Together began the Re-Housing Support program in December, 2011.