- COPY - Family Mentor

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ORGANIZATION: COALITION TO END HOMELESSNESS

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Our Homeless family program primarily helps single mothers with young children. As a result, we are looking for women, ideally women who have been single mothers and managed a household and children. There is nothing that can prepare you for how difficult this is except doing it. Not all people who want to mentor families will be accepted. We will give you a quiz and meet with you at your home. We have to make sure that you can help these moms (often young) learn how to maintain housing so that neither they or their children become homeless again. We also need to have enough street smarts to know when someone is just trying to get a little extra that they don't really need and when they really need help.

The "Pay the Rent First" program is focused on helping homeless families get housed and more importantly, stay housed. Only a small percentage of homeless families are eligable for this program. They must have one adult working full-time and children under 18. Families that qualify have enough money to pay rent every month but they do not have enough for first, last, and security. Some low-income landlords may require an additional security deposit if the family has been convicted before or has a very low credit score. These families are easier to help than most homeless people but they often still have some problems besides poverty such as mental health, children with disabilities, etc.

A lot of work goes into qualifying the family, such as an application, a quiz, and a background check. One qualified the family must find a place they can afford to rent (30-40% of their income). So a family making 10,000.00 a month can afford rent of about $3,500.00/month. Of course, none of our families earn so much and it is often difficult and time consuming to find an apartment they can afford. We then provide them with about $3,000.00 towards first, last and security. This is insufficient and requires that the family has some funding of their own in order to get into housing.

Once housed, the real work begins as we mentor them for 12 months. We have additional funds available to help them stay housed. For example, if the car breaks down and they are barely making it, we can assist with repairs so that they don't lose a job. We are looking for a mentor who can go from reviewing the application, to helping them find an apartment, to providing ongoing assistance/education about how to stay housed and avoid eviction.

The volunteer would start by attending some of our client services committee meetings, and perhaps shadowing another volunteer for a while. Some families want the money and then want nothing to do with mentoring. Other families call constantly wanting a volunteer to solve all their problems from paying for prescriptions, paying for child care, etc.

While this is a long term volunteer position, it does not require a lot of time on a weekly basis. Ideally the volunteer will bond with the family and we would not want to change volunteers half-way through the process. The goal is that at the end of 12 months the family is in position to stay housed for the rest of their lives.

The ideal volunteer is someone who is compassionate, not judgemental, and also realistic. We will help the volunteer find resources to assist the family in other areas (aside from housing) which most of them will require. The volunteer will work with the family and get to know them and their strengths and weaknesses. Each family will be different, needing help with different things depending on their strengths and weaknesses. Volunteers will have to pass a background check.

While this is not always easily, many volunteers find it rewarding and enjoy getting to know the families.

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About COALITION TO END HOMELESSNESS

Location:

924 N.W. 1st Avenue, FT LAUDERDALE, FL 33311, US

Mission Statement

To End Homelessness through changing lives. The Coalition provides services to chronically homeless men and women M-F from 9 to 4. Volunteers can also help after hours by picking up donations, doing a food drive, helping with maintenance and other responsibiltiies.

Description

The Coalition provides a place for chronically homeless people to go during the day. We offer coffee and food when we have it, laundry services, movies, computer services, a telephone, mail, counseling, referrals to services, assistance with benefits and other services.

CAUSE AREAS

Children & Youth
Crisis Support
Homeless & Housing
Children & Youth, Crisis Support, Homeless & Housing

WHEN

We'll work with your schedule.

WHERE

Multiple locations Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

(26.12427,-80.1289)
 

SKILLS

  • Mentoring
  • Financial Literacy
  • Family Therapy
  • Child Welfare
  • Financial Planning
  • Housekeeping

GOOD FOR

N/A

REQUIREMENTS

  • Driver's License Needed
  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 30
  • Orientation or Training
  • This volunteer will commit to at leat one year, ideally more, but weekly work will vary from none at all to a maximum of about 10 some weeks. Time commitment will vary based on the stage of development but overall will not be much on a weekly basis.
  • Understanding, or willing to learn, the difficulties of living in poverty and learning or finding resources that can be helpful for families in need. Compassion for families with limited resources and a true desire to be of assistance.

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