The Local Initiative for Family Empowerment (LIFE) Program is a homelessness prevention and shelter diversion program that supports families who are at risk of eviction or recently homeless. Eligibility criteria includes:
- Must have at least one child under the age of 18 living in the household. This program only serves families with children.
- If in the eviction process, current housing must be sustainable with existing income and expenses. This program assists families who can be sustainable once we address their rent in arrears.
- One or two parent families are accepted with no gender restrictions, and at least one parent must be employed. Families must have sufficient income to sustain housing payments.
- Must be able to attend evening monthly group meetings in Natick and meet individually with their case manager at least once a month. These meetings are essential to developing skills to ensure future sustainability.
- Must be a resident of MA, with priority given to families in the metrowest area. This is important for attending meetings and accessing services.
Once families enter the program, they establish goals with their case manager that are reviewed during individual monthly meetings. Areas include finances with a focus on savings, debt reduction, employment, and accessing community resources that may decrease expenses. Housing is also a goal area with an initial focus on improving the family’s relationship with their current landlord by paying off rent in arrears. Subsidies are provided by FPM directly to the landlord with some of the arrears also budgeted by the family depending on their capacity and income.
In addition to individual meetings, all parents are required to attend monthly group meetings with speakers on a variety of topics that will promote sustainability. These may include budgeting; how to be a good tenant; nutrition and shopping on a budget; health and safety; or choosing affordable child care. While these meetings will provide a training opportunity for parents, they also promote relationships between families that are sharing similar challenges.