HOPE Changes Families' Lives
HOPE for Stable Families works with central Iowa families each year to set goals, remove barriers, and find support in moving out of poverty to long-term financial stability. The initiative is unique in that it provides comprehensive support to parents and children at the same time, also known as a 2Gen approach.
United Way of Central Iowa re-launched HOPE in 2018, thanks to a $100,000 annual, three-year grant from the Siemer Institute. The grant combines the successful HOPE demonstration project that ended in June 2016 and the Stable Families program.
HOPE for Stable Families is breaking the cycle of poverty for the next generation by addressing the complicated barriers that impact parents and children.
What Is HOPE for Stable Families?
United Way is working with HOME Inc., Oakridge Neighborhood, and Hawthorn Hill to provide case management and support to 55 families each year for three years. Several partners are helping families meet needs around job training, child care, transportation, legal services, dental services, and more, that can be barriers to financial stability.
Half of the families enrolled in HOPE for Stable Families are facing homelessness, while the remaining are moving out of crisis and toward financial stability, with the potential for home ownership. Case managers especially focus on ensuring children remain at their current school and have support.
Why is HOPE needed?
One-third of central Iowans do not earn enough to cover basic household expenses and save. HOPE especially works with low-income families who need long-term stable housing. Des Moines has 13,789 extremely low-income households but only 6,224 affordable units. During the 2015-2016 school year, Des Moiens Public Schools reported 920 homeless youth at its schools and that about 30 percent of its students moved to a different school during the year.
HOPE for Stable Families works with families to set goals with a focus on keeping children at their current school and families secure long-term stable housing. It's approach is unique in that it works with families across generations to provide support that addresses many barriers to moving toward financial stability.
Results of HOPE
Through the three-year HOPE demonstration project that ended in June 2016, most families:
- Increased their income through work
- Secured stable housing
- Parents worked toward degrees or certificates to gain skills for better jobs
- Children passed all of their classes and advanced to the next grade