Family Promise of Cowlitz County received a $20,000 grant to help prevent families from losing their housing.
The Kelso-based organization is one of 13 Family Promise affiliates around the country to receive the “Homeless No More Challenge” grant from nonprofit Help Us Move In, according to a press release.
The grant will allow the nonprofit to help prevent people from becoming homeless, along with assisting families who are currently homeless, said Executive Director Lisa Staudinger.
“We’re really super excited about this,” she said. “We haven’t had this opportunity before to put a prevention program in place.”
In August 2019, Family Promise of Cowlitz County began hosting homeless families with children in churches and helping them find housing and connect to other services. The pandemic put a hold on housing families in churches, and the nonprofit’s board decided in July to host families at the Day Center indefinitely, Staudinger said.
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The organization plans to expand the center’s capacity and have more volunteer involvement during and after dinner, Staudinger said.
Staudinger said beginning a homeless prevention program has been a priority for the nonprofit. It’s less expensive to prevent homelessness than trying to overcome it and less traumatic and disruptive, she said.
Along with helping families keep their housing, the prevention program will include case management and teaching life skills, Staudinger said.
“When someone working with us, we help educate them so they become permanently stable from that point forward,” she said.
The grant is a two-year program, with Family Promise eligible for a $10,000 match each year, Staudinger said. The organization wants to leverage it further and ask for a $20,000 match so it could potentially have $40,000 to launch a permanent prevention program, she said.
Family Promise must first raise $10,000 to get the matching grant funds. Staudinger said although fundraising has been difficult over the last year and a half, she is confident they will raise the necessary amount.
“I know this community will do it because this community really is generous and caring and involved and engaged,” she said.
Staudinger said Family Promise is planning a “Birthday Party” open house on Aug. 29 marking its two-year anniversary. The event will be a chance for the community to see what the nonprofit has done over the past two years and what is next, she said.