Newly expanded Front Door Program targets family homelessness
-Mayor Rawlings-Blake, The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and United Way of Central Maryland join St. Vincent de Paul at event announcing expanded cutting-edge rapid re-housing program-
(Baltimore, MD) – Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, United Way of Central Maryland, and Baltimore City’s Move to Work program joined St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore at an event today to announce the expansion of its cutting-edge rapid re-housing program for homeless families in Baltimore City. The expansion was made possible through a $1.5 million grant from the Weinberg Foundation to St. Vincent de Paul over three years. Funding will also support a research component that will contribute to establishing national best practices for reducing family homelessness.
Families who are homeless, nationally and in Baltimore, represent about one third of the homeless population, and have been the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in recent years. They are also one of the most difficult populations to serve, because of the many barriers to housing they face including: mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, lack of education and unemployment and underemployment.
One of the national best practices for reducing family homelessness is rapid re-housing, which has proven to significantly reduce the length of time that families are homeless, thereby lessening the negative impact of homelessness on both adults and children and increasing the annual numbers of families able to be served. The Front Door Program aligns with Baltimore’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, which recognizes a critical need to support alternative housing models.
St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore’s Front Door Program has achieved significant success with rapidly re-housing families over the past three years, placing 150 families into permanent housing. Thanks to significant support from The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, United Way of Central Maryland, and Baltimore City, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore’s Front Door Program will expand to serve 65 families per year, for 3 years.
The program will receive referrals from St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore’s Sarah’s Hope, Mount Street shelter, Baltimore Outreach shelter, Salvation Army’s Booth House shelter, and Baltimore City’s Department of Social Services Homeless Emergency Environmental Services Unit (HEESU). Mothers with older teenage boys, single fathers with children, and in-tact families, who are presently not served at family shelters, will also be served by the Front Door expansion through special shelter diversion rapid re-housing services.
The families served by Front Door are assisted in locating market-rate rental units in communities where their children are in school and the family has existing support systems. The family is provided with initial rent, a security deposit, and moving costs.
Once the family is housed, they are provided with one-time, shallow or medium-term rental assistance based on the needs and resources of the family and case management for up to nine months. Case Managers help families access benefits including food stamps, mental and physical health support, secure employment, or enroll in job training. They also support the family as they work to maintain their educational, employment, and financial wellbeing to achieve long-term economic self-sufficiency.
Funding for the expansion of Front Door will also support a research component that will measure key outcomes to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. This outcome information will contribute towards establishing national best practices for ending family homelessness.
Cicely Franklin is an example of the impact rapid re-housing can have on a family. When she and her two children faced homelessness, they moved into St. Vincent de Paul’s Sarah’s Hope, Mount Street shelter. Ms. Franklin worked with a case manager to meet the goals she established for herself and was accepted into the Front Door program. On December 23, Cicely and her family moved into their own home and that year the kids had a real Christmas tree with gifts underneath. She and her family have been successfully permanently housed ever since. “St. Vincent de Paul and the Mount Street shelter and Front Door Program made me proud; it was awesome, and it humbled me. I felt worthy and I knew I had to keep pushing myself because I wanted to show I wanted more,” Cicely said.
St. Vincent de Paul Awarded Five Year Head Start Grant to Help Lead New Zero to Five Initiative for School Readiness
-Five local early childhood education partners form new Head Start Collaborative in Baltimore City-
St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore (SVDP) has been awarded a new Head Start grant totaling approximately $35 million over five years. SVDP is one of five agencies that make up a new Head Start Collaborative in Baltimore City. The Collaborative was formed in response to a new, national Zero to Five initiative to ensure that low-income children receive the highest quality early childhood services possible from cradle-to-kindergarten.
The five leading Head Start and Early Head Start providers, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, Baltimore City Head Start, the Y of Central Maryland, Catholic Charities, and the Maryland Family Network, worked together to create new and unique strategies that will dramatically increase the percentage of Head Start children who are considered “Fully Ready” for kindergarten to a level that exceeds the average for Baltimore City. The Collaborative will work with other partners including: The Mayor’s Office of Human Services, Baltimore City Public Schools, and B’More for Healthy Babies.
The strategies, released in detail at Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s press conference today, include:
- Shifting Early Head Start and Head Start delivery from a one-grantee system to a multiple grantee collaborative to devolve funding directly to the community agencies
- Focusing the Head Start program on three-year-olds and expanding the number of three-year-olds served from 2,200 to 2,600
- Expanding all Head Start services to be full-day (six hours) and lengthening the Head Start school year by 10 days
- Using a common approach to reporting results, curriculum, assessment, training and technical assistance
St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, a leading provider of community services for nearly 150 years, will continue providing Head Start services for children at its 7 established sites throughout high-poverty communities in Baltimore City. SVDP Head Start has a special focus on serving the Spanish-speaking population, with approximately 30% of enrollment being English Language Learners. Dual language children and families are supported by a network of SVDP bi-lingual teaching and administrative staff.
“St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore remains dedicated to providing quality education and support services to our Head Start families, and we are thrilled to be a part of this collaboration,” said John Schiavone, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore President & CEO. “Strong investment in Head Start is crucial. Access to quality early childhood development programs is central to any effort to break the cycle of poverty. Access to high quality early interventions like Head Start means that children are more likely to graduate from high school and college, are less likely to need special education services, and are less likely to repeat grades.”
Head Start is a comprehensive pre-school education program designed to prepare low-income, children for academic success, and promote age-appropriate social skills. The program works in partnership with parents, extended family, and members of the community to offer developmentally appropriate education, health, case management and family support services to children and their families.
Beans & Bread Opens Doors to Opportunity
Beans & Bread Hours of Operation:
Construction is complete on the new Beans & Bread Center and improved services are up and running. The Beans & Bread Center offers a comprehensive array of services to help those who are homeless or suffering from the effects of poverty attain the skills and resources they need to achieve self-sufficiency and realize their full potential. The Beans & Bread Center is home to three programs: Beans and Bread, Frederick Ozanam House, and Home Connections.
Beans & Bread is a day resource program that provides a complete range of supportive services. Beans & Bread offers low barrier services that provide immediate stabilization, such as meals and day shelter, and form the foundation for client engagement. Beans & Bread also offers an extensive array of self-sufficiency services focused in four core areas: housing, employment, health, and recovery. Clients are assisted in attaining the goal of achieving self-sufficiency by a team of staff, interns, and volunteers who provide guidance, support, and case management according to the client’s level of need.
Frederick Ozanam House is an on-site, 20 unit, transitional housing program for men in recovery.
Home Connections is a scattered-site, permanent supportive housing program based at the Beans & Bread Center serving 60 chronically homeless individuals.
Founded in 1977 by Benet Hanlon, Beans & Bread was distinguished in those early days by the great dignity and respect shown to meal “guests,” who were greeted at the door, seated, and waited on by Benet or other volunteers. St. Vincent de Paul assumed operation of Beans & Bread in 1986, and moved it to its present Bond Street location in 1992, adding case management and other supportive services.
In 2008 St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore embarked on the Opening Doors Campaign to raise $5.25 million to renovate and expand Beans & Bread, enabling it to provide even more comprehensive services. The new facility more than doubles the space for the day resource program, adds employment services, showers and laundry, and other services for housing, health, and recovery.
In addition to daily meal service that is a key part of engaging the homeless population, guests now receive a membership card, the first step towards engagement in services that help them attain the skills and resources to achieve self-sufficiency and realize their full potential.
Beans & Bread Services:
Weekday Morning Hospitality
Shower and Laundry Services
Recovery Support & Referrals
8:30-4:00 Monday through Friday, 9:00-1:30 Saturday and Sunday
Lunch is served from 11:30-1:30 Morning Hospitality from 8:30-9:30