The goal of The Siemer Institute for Family Stability is to support families so their children can remain in the same school, giving them the best chance of academic success. The program targets neighborhoods and schools with high student mobility rates. It creates long-lasting change by addressing and resolving the issues that push families to the brink of homelessness.
The program's success is based on intervention, prevention and education. Full-time social workers work intensively with families for three to six months, with an additional period of follow-up support to give stability. The intensity, frequency and duration of assistance are based on the specific needs of each family. Families receive individual attention and guidance from a case manager who provides:
- Family counseling and advocacy for the family
- Assistance in negotiations with landlords and other entities to help families remain in their homes
- Help in locating resources for health care, after-school programs and programs for children with special needs
- Job training and household budgeting assistance, and connection to resources and supports to prevent future crises
- Short-term financial support for rent, transportation, job training and utility bills
Data has shown that the program has been highly successful in preventing homelessness in participating communities. Families have reported:
- Increased housing stability
- Increased life-skills capabilities such as household budgeting
- Increased school stability for children
- Greater capacity to avoid another housing crisis
"Words can not express what this program has meant to me and my whole family."
A victim of domestic violence, Jenny was forced to leave her steady job in Michigan and relocate to Ohio with her two daughters. She began working for a temp agency, but the income was not enough to pay her rent, and also provide food for Meagan, a sixth-grade special needs student, and Lauren, a third-grade student. Fortunately, Jenny and her family found the help they needed from their local SIFS program.
“Words can not express what this program has meant to me and my whole family. It would have been devastating to put my children through another move! The court date was set for eviction proceedings, but my case manager was able to work with my landlord and stop the process. The program not only helped me with my current rent, it helped pay back rent, and I am back on top of my bills again. I felt like I was in a hole and could not dig my way out. Now, I have a plan and goals for the future, and I am happy to say that my girls are excelling in school.”