Family Renew Community provides housing for homeless families with children in Volusia County. More importantly, though, we help homeless parents on a path toward supporting their families in places of their own.
We have 32 apartments at residential campuses in Holly Hill, Daytona Beach and DeLand, where families may live for six months or more with no rent or utility payments. Before coming to Family Renew, many of these children and their parents sleep in cars, on floors in overcrowded homes of exasperated loved ones, in seedy motels, or worse.
Family Renew offers about 60 families a year safe haven from these desperate situations. But our housing program is not all about shelter. In the security and modest comfort of private, furnished apartments, families heal. Children go to school rested, bathed, in clean clothes and ready to study and play. With intensive yet compassionate guidance from case managers, mothers and fathers improve their employment, money management and parenting. They pay down debt, repair credit and build savings.
When they move back out on their own, they are better equipped to handle whatever challenges life may send their way. We have evidence that nearly all of the families we serve remain stably housed in the months and years afterward.
This restoration of hope for homeless families takes hard work on the part of parents; and the program is not for everyone.
Families are screened for eligibility through an application process. Priority for placement in apartments is given to eligible families who are significantly vulnerable to harm in their unstable living conditions. We choose to work with with families who are unlikely to attain and sustain permanent, affordable housing in any other way.
We set high expectations for the families in our housing program. With a case manager's help, parents must make a plan to get their family on firm footing, both financially and otherwise, and follow it diligently. This means maintaining employment, sticking to a budget, saving 50 percent of earnings in a housing fund, remaining drug-free and alcohol-free, keeping house, serving nutritious meals and attentively parenting their children.
If they don't have a job, we help them get one, along with the child care they need in order to get and keep work. Parents are encouraged to seek education and vocational training to increase their earning potential. We review their budgets with them weekly, and give them access to workshops on money management, nutrition and parenting.
Our case management is a holistic approach – healing the whole person/family. We have found that many of our adults have been in foster care, and/or were sexually abused as children, or abused as adults, or grew up in alcoholic and/or drug environments. They are trying to cope with emotional, psychological and physical problems. Their financial problems are just a visible indication of their other needs. Our case managers are trained in trauma-informed care, and we collaborate with other social service agencies to provide our families with counseling. We offer on-site enrichment activities for children.
We do everything in our power to keep costs down. In fact, our research shows we spend considerably less per family and get better results than similar programs in the U.S.
Nonetheless, changing lives entails numerous activities that cost money: Keeping our 32 apartments in good repair, with the power on and the water running. Employing highly qualified and well-trained social service professionals to guide families on the path out of homelessness. Assisting with the costs of child care, transportation and other things necessary for parents to search for jobs and go to work.
On average, it costs us $9,600 to equip a family with the tools they need to lift themselves out of homelessness forever.
We make it easy to contribute meaningfully to a family's success in your own way and within your means. A donation of as little as $1 will pay a homeless family's water bill for a day, or provide a book for a homeless child learning to read; $200 will cover housing and all other assistance to family for a full week. We offer creative ways to give and still more ways to get involved as a volunteer.