I was talking to one of our dedicated volunteers on January 2nd, the first day back to work after the holidays and the start of a new year. To me, it represents a fresh start, a clean slate, and infinite possibilities for the next 12 months. One of the reasons I can be so optimistic about 2018 is because of all of you and what your support has allowed us to accomplish in 2017.
With your help, we provided shelter and support to 23 families made up of 94 individuals (a total of 5,481 bed nights). Sixty five percent of those in our programs were under the age of 18 and almost 30% were under the age of 6. Twenty-eight children attended Camp Lots-of-Fun. In 2017, Family Promise volunteers prepared and served 6,222 meals to the families in the Network and a whopping 39,180 meals to our neighbors in need through the Family Promise Walk-in Dinner Program.
Additionally, we fielded literally hundreds of crisis calls leading to personal interviews for those meeting the basic eligibility criteria for the Network. All other callers were referred to appropriate resources in the community.
One hundred percent of those in our Network and New Leaf programs received job readiness and/or educational training. Another 16% of those in the Post-shelter Program, returned for these services. More than half of those in the Network and all of those in New Leaf – where the hard work gets done – improved their economic status.
Every family that left our housing programs in good standing in 2017 maintained their housing and all but one family that left the program in 2016 has maintained theirs.
We are thrilled with the success our families have made and proud we are providing real solutions to the complex issues which define family homelessness. None of this would have happened without you – our loyal volunteers, host and support congregations, donors, corporate partners and friends. We are so grateful you have joined us in our efforts.
Looking ahead, our priority in 2018 is to provide more opportunities for success while significantly increasing our capacity to help more families. Let’s continue to work together to end homelessness for working families in Bergen County.
Happy New Year, Everyone!