Q. IS FAMILY PROMISE OF WAUKESHA COUNTY ACCEPTING FAMILIES?
A. Family Promise of Waukesha County has put a temporary pause on accepting families into the program. This is due to the structure of our services. Since faith communities host our families and utilize volunteers to provide meals, fellowship and sleep overnight; it was decided to not put the volunteers at risk. Many of our volunteers are more susceptible to the effects of the virus.
Q. WHAT IS YOUR FOCUS NOW?
A. Our focus is on four areas:
1. Helping Alumni Families.
We have been in contact with many of our former families and have been able to help with rent assistance, utility assistance, car repairs and supplies such as toilet paper, diapers, etc. We do not want those who have worked so hard to get out of homelessness to be pulled back in because of a loss of a job or a reduction in hours.
2. Preventing Family Homelessness
We have established a fund to help those struggling with rent, mortgage payments, utility assistance, groceries and car repairs. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $50,000 to be used to prevent families from becoming homeless. It is our expectation that there will be many impacted by this crisis that will assistance. We want to prevent a temporary problem becoming a devastating issue for a family.
3. Preparing for Families
There is likely to be a resurgence of family homelessness at the end of this crisis. We are working to position ourselves to serve as many families as possible.
4. Crisis Case Management
Our social worker is engaged with alumni families and others who call Family Promise. While we are not able to accept families, we make referrals to other domestic violence, shelters or relief agencies. In addition, many who are calling are experiencing trauma aside from the corona virus. The “stay at home” order, while necessary, can add a layer of panic and uncertainty for those who are vulnerable. We are fully engaged with these families.
Q. DID YOU CONSIDER HOTELS?
A. We did, however this proved to be more expensive than our resources could allow. We are keeping this option open.
Q. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FAMILIES IN THE PROGRAM?
Families were not displaced. The timing of our decision corresponded to a moment when we did not have a family in the program.
Q. HASN’T GOVERNOR EVERS SUSPENDED EVICTIONS AND FORECLOSURES?
A. He has and that is good news. Yet there are many questions that remain. What happens after 60 days? Our concern is that families will choose between rent and food or rent and medicine. Of course, they will take the option of foregoing rent. When the suspension is over then what? Our goal is to prevent families from falling behind.
Q. WHEN WILL FUNDS FOR HOMELESS PREVENTION BE MADE AVAILABLE
A. Applications are being accepted now. Funds will not be available before April 15, 2020.
Q. WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES TO QUALIFY FOR HOMELESS PREVENTION FUNDS? HOW DO I APPLY?
A. Click on the Emergency Housing Assistance button to read see who qualifies and to apply for assistance.
Our concerns with this crisis, with limited hours of work, is being able to afford needs for our baby such as formula and diapers.
Q. HOW ARE THE ALUMNI FAMILIES?
A. They are hanging in, but like all of us have a pretty high degree of anxiety. They know they are vulnerable. As Leah shared with us, the concern is being able to provide the basics for her children and keep her family safe and healthy. Another guest, Michelle mentioned she has been laid off and is trying to stay busy to keep her mind occupied to avoid the stress and worry of paying bills without a job.
Q. WHAT ARE YOUR FUNDRAISING GOALS?
A. Our goal is to fund raise $50,000 for homeless prevention and $50,000 for shelter. Keep in mind homeless prevention is a new program for us and was not budgeted. Secondly, we want to fund raise $50,000 for shelter. We want to be prepared and the costs of our shelter do not go away. Our day center, case management and administration are still in place.
Q. WHAT HAVE YOU RAISED TO DATE?
A. Thus far we have raised just over $25,000. In addition, we are grateful to the Oconomowoc Area Foundation to be able to re-purpose a grant for rent/mortgage, utility and vehicle assistance. We are hopeful to be able to supplement this with positive responses from grant applications. This is a great start, but we still have a way to go!