New Approaches to Reducing Family Homelessness:

A Look Beyond Affordable Housing: Understanding Root Causes of Family Homelessness

Homes for Families is hosting a forum examining broad, socio-economic issues contributing to homelessness in the state of Massachusetts.

When: June 16, 2010
9:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Where: Hogan Center at the College of The Holy Cross
1 College St.
Worcester, MA 01610

Cost*: $25 (Non-Members)

$15 (Homes for Families’ members who have paid 2010   dues. Must register by mail)

*Cost includes lunch and is Non-refundable

The event will feature the following presenters:

Brian Miller, United for a Fair Economy

Representative Byron Rushing (Schedule Permitting)

Community Change, Inc.

Carlene Pavlos, Mass. Department of Public Health

Maria Rodman, Western MA Training Consortium

Haji Shearer, Children’s Trust Fund

Therese O’Neil-Pirrozi, Northeastern University

Jodi Wilinsky Hill, COMPASS For Kids, COMPASS Community College Colllaborative Program

Lakenya Johnson, F.A.M.I.L.Y Movement

Ann Wilkinson, My Life, My Choice

Tammy Simmons Dixon, Victory Programs

Jonathan Sherwood, Victory Programs

Deborah Youngblood, Crittenton Women’s Union

More presenters will be announced soon.

Click here to register on line or click here for the registration form to send by mail.

The morning session will feature a presentation from Brian Miller, Executive Director of United for a Fair Economy. He will be followed by Community Change, Inc. who will examine systemic, institutional racism in the commonwealth and the nation and ways in which it perpetuates poverty by limiting access to housing and mainstream resources.

The afternoon session will be framed by a presentation about Adverse Childhood Experiences and feature 6 breakout groups discussing factors which can impact economic and housing stability. Each group will feature a panel discussion that will look at policies and trends regarding a particular issue and discuss practice implications with strengths-based and trauma informed approaches. It is important to note that the following topics will not be talked about as causes of homelessness or poverty but factors that impact the stabilization of households at risk of or overcoming homelessness. While housing that is affordable is the primary solution to homelessness, a holistic approach to partnering with families and broad policy reforms play vital roles in our collective effort to end family homelessness.

The breakout group topics are:

1. Supporting Positive Relationships:

This group will discuss the impact of domestic violence on family homelessness; engaging the family unit as a whole; and methods for discussing/strengthening healthy relationships.

2. Awareness about Sexual Abuse & Exploitation:

This group will help attendees to understand sexual abuse and exploitation; their prevalence; how they affect families in their daily lives; tools for working with families impacted by this trauma and keeping children and families safe.

3. Addressing Issues of Substance Abuse for Re-Housing:

This group will examine substance abuse, its impact on homeless families and strength-based strategies for assisting households.

4. Promoting Health & Nutrition:

The impact of homelessness on children’s health is well documented, as are the discrepancies in health and chronic illnesses across race and socio-economic status. This group will discuss ways to support families overcome challenges in keeping themselves and their family’s healthy.

5. Increasing Education:

Quality education is a pathway out of poverty and to housing and economic stability. This break out group will examine the role of education within a household, including both the parent’s education and the impact that parents can have in their children’s education.

6. Employment in Short-Term Subsidies:

The system has become more reliant on short term housing subsidies and long term subsides have become scarce.  This group will discuss employment and educational opportunities that could possibly connect families with employment that pays a living wage within a one-year time period, recognizing the cliff effect and other challenges.

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