Lance. Jackson. Jeremy. Dedria. Mary. Jonathan. Baby Olivia …
Those are the names of just a few of our cherished former guests. Do you remember how you helped to sustain their spirits and wellbeing during their lowest days in homelessness? Or how they transformed you in an awakening moment of grace while you were serving them in FFH’s overnight shelter or day center?
They are all home now! All 141 of them!
The remarkable whirlwind of expansion FFH has experienced since its inception less than 5 years ago is testament to the deep commitment of the Fort Collins faith community to help its neighbors experiencing the despair of homelessness. What began as an overnight family shelter has grown to include the network of support needed by our vulnerable parents and children to heal and achieve sustainable self-sufficiency in a timely manner. Those programs now include primary case management, a full-service family-friendly Day Center, and transitional housing for 7-8 families under development. We now work in partnership with over 20 local agencies that help our families address their various needs.
The additional support has enabled our families’ success rate in finding employment and housing to rise, respectively, from 18% to 86% and 31% to 58%. Their median days from shelter to housing have declined commensurately from 68 to 58 days. The cost per guest for our wrap-around service is just $20/day. Once transitional housing is in place, we expect to attain a national benchmark of 75-80% success in achieving permanent housing for our guest families. And, we will be more able to quickly shelter those on the street, as well as support those families with higher barriers to independence.
As we expand to serve more families, our expenses have grown commensurately. With an annual budget of almost $200,000 once transitional housing is in place, we continue to rely on the generous financial support of our community to provide the professional services and facilities our families need to succeed. Thank you! Truly, thank you for your continued individual and congregational donations, as well as the support of generous grantors!
What is the impact of our FFH work on our Fort Collins community? First, we demonstrate each day through our emergency shelter that we are a caring, supportive community that values ALL of its members. We are a community that comes together from different faith perspectives to collaborate in serving our most vulnerable neighbors in need. By providing our network of stabilizing and supportive services to parents and children, we reduce disruptions to family life, peer relationships, education, and medical care, and set families up for more stable futures.
I give thanks for the tremendous commitment of YOU! – our 30 (and growing!) member congregations and thousands of volunteers who have committed themselves to support Fort Collins’ homeless families and children working to achieve sustainable self-sufficiency.
Diane H. Abshire
President, FFH Board of Directors