More than 1 million school children become homeless every year. When children are homeless, the stress, trauma, and academic disruptions lead to problems in school. As a school teacher, Barbara Siemer saw how harmful homelessness and school instability were to students and classrooms. These experiences inspired Barbara and Al Siemer to develop a program with the intention of preventing family homelessness and reducing school instability among low-income families. Since 2011, the Siemer Institute has established partnerships in 53 communities across the country.
In 2018, Louisville’s Metro United Way was chosen to participate, and with a generous grant, JFCS has established its own Family Stability Program to assist families in obtaining and maintaining secure and stable housing. This goal is accomplished in a supportive environment which meets clients where they are, supports families so their children remain in their original schools, and provides families with the tools they need to become self-sufficient.
Participating clients have access to all the services offered at JFCS – mental health counseling, food pantry and emergency assistance, career counseling, and much more. External referrals are also made to help clients meet their many needs. Counselors help families move from crisis to stability by providing financial assistance, budget coaching, job training, and support for the entire family. All are locally designed and managed to leverage community resources and address community needs as effectively as possible.
The JFCS program has served just over 20 families, and in 2019, JFCS hopes to reach 45 families. If you know a family with school-age children who are struggling, please contact Loren Hill at 502-322-1903 or [email protected] today!
Loren Hill is a Kentucky native who has lived in Louisville since 2010. She is a passionate believer in free and equitable access to information as a key component of social justice. Loren has spent her career serving at various nonprofits and is particularly interested in supporting families and individuals impacted by generational poverty. She works at Jewish Family & Career Services to provide counseling and case management to at-risk families. Loren is nearly finished with her MSW at Spalding University and will begin working towards her therapist license in the summer.
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