Out of Reach 2019 Report

 

The National Low-Income Housing Coalition recently released its 2019 Out of Reach report which reveals startling statistics on the current state of affordable housing throughout the country. Out of Reach documents the significant and growing gap between renters’ wages and the cost of housing in every county and state in America.  The report breaks down the average hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental without spending more than 30% of their annual income.

The Out of Reach report states that there is not a single county or metropolitan area in Florida where an individual working a full-time, minimum wage job can afford a simple 2-bedroom apartment. On average, they would need to work 108 hours per week or have 2.7 full-time minimum wage jobs to afford a decent place to live.  Coupled with the rising costs of food, childcare, and transportation, low-income families often find themselves having to make the impossible decision between paying rent and buying food or seeking medical care.

With Palm Beach County being the 3rd most expensive county in Florida and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton being the 2nd most expensive metropolitan area in Florida, drastic changes are needed to decrease the disparity between wages and housing costs.  The Out of Reach report states that Fair Market Rent in Palm Beach County is $1434 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment which would require a single parent to earn $27.58 to afford and maintain stable housing.

Every day, Adopt-A-Family works to combat the affordable housing crisis in Palm Beach County and equip low-income families with the tools they need to become stable and self-sufficient in the midst of a rental landscape that is stacked against them. The agency’s efforts include:

  • 51 units of housing for homeless Palm Beach County families
  • 55 units of affordable rentals for low-income Palm Beach County families
  • Financial assistance to prevent eviction for low-income families experiencing a crisis
  • A new housing project that will provide 14 units of housing reserved for unstably housed students at Highland Elementary School in Lake Worth, Florida
  • Case management, financial literacy classes, credit repair services, budget counseling, first-time home buyer education, mental health services, and linkage to support services to enable families to become self-sufficient.

 

Read more 2019 Out of Reach report here.

As part of a nationwide initiative funded by John S. and the James L. Knight Foundation, the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin counties (CFPBMC) spearheaded a discussion called “On the Table.” In October 2018, CFPBMC coordinated with local community partners who hosted in-person discussions on topics surrounding positive social change and exchanged ideas on actions that can make a difference in the community. Approximately 4,000 Palm Beach and Martin County residents participated in On the Table conversations. This initiative was a first of its kind for Palm Beach County and it allowed community residents, volunteers, and leaders to come together and examine the most pressing needs currently facing the community.   

After the On the Table discussions, participants were encouraged to fill out a survey. The report on the survey is very encouraging. It shows that 77% of On the Table participants feel that Palm Beach and Martin Counties have a strong sense of community. 73% feel that nonprofits and community organizations offer the most significant impacts on making the community a better place to live. The most conclusive response revealed by the survey is that an astounding 91% of participants expressed plans to take specific action regarding one of the issues or solutions they discussed during an On the Table discussion.  

 

77% of On the Table participants feel that Palm Beach and Martin Counties have a strong sense of community. Click To Tweet

You can read the full report here  

  

Adopt-A-Family looks forward to the positive impact of increased engagement, partnership, advocacy, grassroots organization, and multi-sector collaboration in our community that has been sparked by 2018’s On the Table. Thank you to the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties for coordinating this engaging event! 

5 Tips for Fundraising with Adopt-A-Family 

Looking to raise money for Adopt-A-Family but not quite sure how to get started? Consider hosting a fundraising event!

Did you know that 80% of Americans believe it’s essential for people to come together in order to promote positive change–regardless of age, gender, income, or geography?

Fundraising events can make a big impact when advocating and spreading awareness for a good cause– like Adopt-A-Family! Each day, we’re working toward our mission to strengthen families with children in their efforts to achieve stability and self-sufficiency. By providing access to all-encompassing services for our families, we’re holding true to our withstanding vision of being leaders in “helping families help themselves.”

At Adopt-A-Family, we encourage our supporters to take action and give aid to our organization. With your help, we can reach our full potential! Fundraisers are a great way to get involved in our organization (and they’re fun too)! Here are a few important factors to keep in mind when planning your event!

 

1. Set a Goal
The foundation of hosting a successful event is understanding its overall purpose and goals. Are you seeking to bring in donations, or simply to spread awareness? If you’re after financial gain, start there. How much money do you wish to make, or even need to make in order to turn a profit? Ensure that all your objectives, no matter how easily attainable, have measurable targets. Registering your event through an online ticketing platform can allow you to track real-time sponsorships and donations! Analyzing your success is crucial to indicating changes to make in the future.

2. Create a Budget
Creating (and sticking to!) a budget can be one of the most stressful components of event planning, especially when fundraising for a nonprofit. When all is said and done, you want to be left with funds to donate to your cause! Establish a rough budget as soon as you begin event planning, and be sure to document all your costs through a spreadsheet. Even your smallest costs can add up to more than you may intend, so be sure to leave room in your budget for the unpredictable!

3. Host Your Event in Collaboration With an Upcoming Celebration
One of the most simple ways to host a fundraising event is to schedule it in tandem with a personal celebration! Requesting attendees’ “presence” instead of presents is becoming a popular trend in children’s birthday parties and holiday celebrations. Is your birthday, wedding, or anniversary right around the corner? Ask friends and family to donate to a meaningful organization (like Adopt-A-Family!) rather than giving gifts. Not only is this an effective way to fundraise, but it also reminds others to be charitable in their daily lives.

4. Choose a Unique Theme 
It’s important to remember that when planning a fundraiser, your guests are excited to contribute to a good cause, but they’re more excited to have a great time! Select a fun theme that will motivate others to both attend and donate. Make sure your event is unique, exciting, and in line with your cause or organization. From trivia nights to neighborhood street parties, the options are truly endless!

If you don’t have the time to host your own event, that’s fine! At Adopt-A-Family, we’re constantly hosting special events to raise money. Be sure to check out our events calendar .

 

 

 

 

 

An Education-Centric Plan With Hope Built In

 

Adopt-A-Family is embarking on a new affordable housing capital campaign and we’ve already received immense support from our community! Adopt-A-Family wants to share our sincerest thanks to the anonymous donor who has backed this exciting project. Because of their donation, we are able to keep moving forward with the Capital Campaign and get closer to bringing stability back into the lives of families throughout our community.

 

You can learn more about our Capital Campaign by clicking on the links to press releases below:

 

Adopt-A-Family launches capital campaign, receives $1 million gift 5.18.18 Palm Beach Happening
$1 million gift helps pay for 14 homes coming to Lake Worth by 2020 5.25.18 The Palm Beach Post
Jackie and her two sons, DaVante and Xavier, came to Adopt-A-Family several years ago on the verge of crisis—they had just learned the place they called home was going into foreclosure, and the family would soon be without a home. Turbulence and trauma in life had been commonplace for the family—three times previously Jackie and her sons had been on the verge of homelessness.

However, from day one at Adopt-A-Family, Jackie was determined to build a better life. She took advantage of every opportunity to grow within the Service Enriched Housing (SEH) program, which is dedicated to equipping and empowering families on their journey toward financial independence and homeowership. Both of her sons enrolled in Project Grow, Adopt-A-Family’s afterschool and out-of-school program that is customized to meet the needs of formerly homeless children.

While an Adopt-A-Family SEH resident, Jackie earned her high school diploma and CNA certification, ensuring her employment options would drastically improve. Jackie also worked diligently to repair her credit and reduce past debts that had weighed heavily on the family throughout the years. Working with Adopt-A-Family’s NeighborWorks Certified Credit Counselor, she developed meticulous saving habits and budgeting skills—while also participating in the program’s “Home Buyer’s Club,” earning her first time homebuyer’s certification.

All the while, Jackie dedicated her drive and passion toward building a better life for her children.
“While I was struggling, my kids were struggling as well,” she shared. “That’s what made the stability of Adopt-A-Family so vital. Stability has always been the primary goal for my kids. It’s finally happened. I’ve accomplished that goal. Having children taught me how to be strong, and motivated to reach this level of independence. I never had a blueprint for how to be a good mother and raise my children. I’d admit, I wasn’t prepared for it at first. However, they were what kept me together and gave me that added motivation to push forward.”

“Jackie has fought incredibly hard to get to this moment,” shared Christina Hewitt, Jackie’s Adopt-A-Family program manager. “Regardless of how difficult things became for her, she never lost her ability to stay positive that her life would take a turn for the better. I truly admire her resilience and perseverance.”

We congratulate Jackie, and her entire family, on achieving the dream of homeownerhip! The family celebrated their home dedication with our partner, Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County, on August 21st, 2017. Special thanks to Habitat for Humanity and the many partners who came together to make this dream a reality.


About Service Enriched Housing: Service Enriched Housing (SEH) is an innovative housing program for low-income families dedicated to the pursuit of increased financial stability and homeownership. SEH provides safe and affordable housing for 30 families who meet program requirements. Families work collaboratively with the program manager to address credit obstacles, eliminate debt, and learn the necessary steps to becoming a homeowner.

 

 

 

 

 

We recently caught up with Celine J., an Adopt-A-Family success story from the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center and Program REACH.

Celine, can you share a bit about what caused you to fall on difficult times?

After my partner and I separated, things began to fall apart. Going from a two-income household to just me, was life-altering and scary for me and my children. 

My rent was over $1,400, I had a car payment, and all my other bills were simply too much for me to stay on my feet. I was working a pretty good job but it wasn’t enough to sustain my expenses. We ended up homeless and lost nearly everything. My car was repossessed and on top of it all, I found out I was pregnant only a month later. My pregnancy was very rough and I was put on bed-rest for the majority of it. This inevitably caused me to lose my job. Everything in my life was coming undone.

It was then I found out about Adopt-A-Family’s Lewis Center office. The team helped me right away (the same day of my appointment). My caseworker told me she wouldn’t let my precious children and I spend another night not knowing where we’d stay. The team worked fast to ensure I’d have a roof over my head. After staying several nights in a hotel, I was referred to Program REACH, an emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness. Everything began turning for the better.

How did participating in the program change your life? 

The kids (I have 10-year old twins and a healthy 5-month old baby girl) loved it here.

Having stability and a foundation made us feel safe again. - Celine J. Click To Tweet

In addition to my case manager helping me find a new job, we were introduced to a number of community resources: I learned budgeting skills, developed a savings plan, and worked with a housing specialist toward finding affordable housing that fell within my existing budget. In a matter of weeks, my housing specialist found a beautiful (and most importantly, affordable) home to call my own. With my newly acquired budgeting skills and savings plan, I was able purchase a reliable used vehicle without the need of a car loan. Going to and from work will now be easier than ever without the need to rely on public transportation.

What will you remember most about your time at Adopt-A-Family?

Sometimes people fall flat on their faces and just may need a second chance. I needed Adopt-A-Family to help rebuild my life. I was pushed to work hard all while being treated with compassion, kindness, respect, and a family spirit.  I’ll never forget my family at Adopt-A-Family.

And, neither will my children. 


*Celine’s name was changed for privacy purposes.

Our #GiveAAF17 mission statement: A stable home creates opportunities for our families. We cannot change lives without you. When you give to Adopt-A-Family for this year’s Great Give, you are creating the opportunity for our children and families to grow. 

For part three of our Great Give program feature series, we caught up with Director of Homeless Prevention Services, Shayene Weatherspoon, to learn more about Adopt-A-Family’s self-sufficiency programs.  

What are some of the common barriers faced by families you serve?

Our families face a number of barriers—one of the largest being the lack of affordable housing in Palm Beach County. Even for families who work full-time, it is still a struggle to pay rent due to how expensive housing costs are in the community. Another barrier our families face is a lack of employer benefits such as paid time off for sick days. Sometimes a minor crisis like a child being sick is all it takes for a family to end up on the brink of homelessness.

What are some relevant and interesting success stories that stand out from your programs?

One family that we served recently immediately popped into my mind. A single mom who was working full-time and taking care of her son contacted our agency in desperation. A few weeks ago she was at work when she received a frantic call from day care informing her that her toddler had stopped breathing and an ambulance was on its way to take him to the hospital. Her son ended up spending more than two weeks in the hospital, forcing this loving and concerned mom to miss a great deal of work. She exhausted her paid leave and was forced to use a great deal of unpaid leave as well. This led to the family falling significantly behind on rent and being faced with eviction.

She turned to Adopt-A-Family with an eviction notice from the court. The Housing Stabilization Program was able to intervene, immediately stopping the eviction and bringing the family current on rent and utilities. We also provided resources to help the mom navigate her expenses and learn about budgeting and savings.

The important thing is that she never gave up. Click To Tweet

Shay Weatherspoon, Director of Homeless Prevention Services

What is one thing that comes to mind that you’d like to tell the community about vulnerable PBC families that your program serves?

One thing I’d really like to message to the community about the families that we serve in HSP and SEH is that these are families that are working, doing their best to care for their children, and trying their hardest to maintain their income and expenses. These families are living day-to-day life when an unexpected crisis happens – a crisis that could befall any of us. It could be a medical issue, a job downsizing, a fire…Any number of circumstances can leave at family at risk of becoming homelessness. There is not one type of homeless or at-risk family.

What are some key goals for families who participate in Adopt-A-Family’s self-sufficiency and prevention programming?

One of the most important goals in our prevention programs is financial stability. For each family that looks a little bit different. Primarily, we are working on helping families budget. We want families to ensure they are developing savings skills that will help to serve as a safety net for future emergencies and allow the family to plan for the future. One of the key objectives in our Service Enriched Housing program is to harness these skills so that families can eventually become homeowners. Additionally, it’s important that we link families to resources in the community to ensure they have all the tools they need to remain stably housed.

Why are the self-sufficiency and prevention programs important in Palm Beach County?

The work that Adopt-A-Family does to prevent homelessness in Palm Beach County is important. Without it, many people, people like you and I, would enter the homeless shelter system. It’s amazing to be in a position to keep that from happening.

Why is it important to support Adopt-A-Family?

If I could say one thing to the community about why it’s important to support our work, I’d like to say that we cannot do the work that we do without you. Our work to help homeless families, to help families at risk of becoming homeless, and to help kids that have been through trauma, would not be possible without support from the community.

“We are fortunate to be in a position to help those in need of housing, in need of stability, and in need of hope.” -Shay Weatherspoon

Greg H. and his daughter, a recent Adopt-A-Family HSP success story.

 

Our 2017 Great Give mission statement: When you give with your heart during this year’s Great Give, our families and children will thrive. We can only impact the lives of families with you. Create the opportunity for our families and children to grow.  #GiveAAF17 during the Great Give.  

To stay up-to-date with the latest AAF Great Give news, follow AAF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To help spread the word about our work, please click to share on Facebook or Twitter below!

 

 

 

Living affordably makes a true difference for our families — Meet Nancy E., an NSP2 Success Story.

We took the opportunity to catch up with Nancy and learn more about how having an affordable place to live has helped unlock her entrepreneurial spirit.

I’ve been in the NSP2 program for more than two years now. I had worked in the Lake Worth community for nearly a decade and knew about Adopt-A-Family’s work from my many years with the local CDC. When my life took an unfortunate turn, Adopt-A-Family was the first place I turned.  I qualified for the NSP2 program and my life has transformed ever since. 

That’s amazing. Tell us about your efforts to start your very own, socially conscious business.

I am starting my own business called “Creative Jeans.” Adopt-A-Family is the only reason I can pursue my entrepreneurial dreams. With an affordable place to call home, I can work full-time and dedicate time to my true passion. Truthfully an affordable place to live is the #1 blessing in my life. Ms. Glenda, my case manager, is #2. 

Tell us a little more about what you hope to accomplish with Creative Jeans.

A bit about my business – I write directly on jeans – the process is called “Apparel with a Message.” The message deals with different problems we may face; particularly our youth. This includes bullying in schools, DWI, drug recovery (any recovery) – all of this must tie back to a positive message I share directly on the jeans. I have some of the work at home where I’ve completed some projects. I’ve reached out to schools, including school counselors, to share this message directly with children that have behavioral problems. My end goal is to prevent children from going out on the streets and getting in trouble. They must avoid the many at-risk behaviors that are prevalent in our community. Another purpose of the business is truly to better myself. 

Tying it all together…

Adopt-A-Family helped me at a time in my life when I was on a downfall. Their support is special. Life is still a struggle from time to time, but I am certainly in a better place than I have been. In the end, I always aim to live up to my word. When I say something, or set a goal… I do my best.  To Ms. Glenda, I can’t thank you enough for being my case worker. Adopt-A-Family is truly allowing me the opportunity to live up to my dreams.

Nancy and her case manager, Glenda Williams!

 

All Adopt-A-Family success stories relate to the core message of our mission statement: stability and self-sufficiency for the families we proudly serve. If you don’t think our stories connect to mission, let us know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

View samples of Nancy’s work below.