Family Pass works closely with emergency shelters in Fairfax County, Fairfax County’s Coordinated Services, Northern Virginia Family Services, Fairfax County Office for Women & Domestic and Sexual Violence Services and other nonprofit organizations. Our first step is to transition families to permanent, affordable housing as quickly as we can.
Homelessness is where everything starts, so our first step is always rapid re-housing. That simply means that we work as quickly as possible to get families into a permanent home. Rapid re-housing is a proven and cost-effective strategy for reducing homelessness. Fairfax County, which has also adopted rapid re-housing, has challenged non-profits to move families into housing within 30 days. Fortunately, we are usually able to find housing for families within three weeks or earlier.
After addressing immediate housing concerns, we provide goal-oriented case management that connects people to community resources for gaining the education and workplace skills needed for better jobs and higher pay.
Each family’s experience is unique. So, each receives exactly the support needed overcome their individual obstacles to independence. Most families will receive one, or more likely a combination, of the following supports:
• Improving job prospects requires gaining additional skills or education.
81% of our families participate in certification programs, community college courses, GED courses, and others.
• Childcare is essential to enable the head of household to pursue job training and education.
• Transportation. Commuting to work, transporting children to child care and school, and getting to classes – often our families do all three –requires reliable transportation. We help families plan for or obtain car repairs, a used car, or a donated car. Family PASS works with Vehicles for Change, a local nonprofit, who provides affordable used cars.
• Obtaining medical care to resolve mental health issues and other health problems makes it possible for parents to hold a job and take care of their children.
• Debt Reduction. Struggling families often feel lost in debt. We provide financial literacy education, helping them to reduce their debt through repayment and negotiation and to develop realistic budgets from here on out.
• A child’s issues can overwhelm a family. Children may need counseling, medical care, tutoring, or help with social skills.
Each of these steps and support systems is important to successfully guiding a family along a path to self-sufficiency. Without long-term case management and permanent housing, families leaving emergency shelters return to homelessness at a high rate. For victims of domestic abuse, the choice is often homelessness or returning to an abuser.