CHN Family Development Program

    Sometimes a roof over your head isn’t enough. Getting a home doesn’t always solve the causes of homeless.

     That’s why, in 1990, Cleveland Housing Network, the city’s second largest landlord, created its Family Development Program.

     F D P’s five counselors each work with fifteen ADC families who are renting or leasing one of the hundreds of homes purchased and renovated by Cleveland Housing Network in cooperation with community development corporations in twelve Cleveland neighborhoods.

     These counselors form relationship with families which continue for up to three years. They help families develop long term plans for such basics employment, education, healthcare, and childcare. They also connect the families with appropriate social service agencies.

      The goals of this counseling are empowerment and independence. The families become free from the 30-day cycle and the crisis-oriented lifestyle which often fostered by public assistance. Some typical results: A mother unemployed for nine years enters a training program, finds day treatment for her disabled child, and obtains a union job.

       A mother of three with a two-year college degree used to hold temporary factory jobs at $ 4.50 an hour. The Family Development Program helped her locate chilcare, write a resume, obtain a hearing aid, and find full time employment.

        According to Cathy Pennington, FDP Director, ”We’re getting at some of the underlying reasons why people are poor.”

         Under CHN programs, moderate income families can purchase homes, while low income families can either rent or lease to own. In 1992 CHN purchased 100 houses and sold 60. Currently, some 700 units are rented.

         About 100 new units were leased to low income families for ownership after fifteen years. Average time on a waiting list is about one year.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine Spring 1993 Issue