The Local Initiative for Family Empowerment (LIFE) program is a homelessness prevention program that supports families who are at risk of eviction but not yet homeless. It is the newest addition to our continuum of services allowing us to support more families while addressing a gap in services. Eligibility criteria includes:
- Must have at least one child under the age of 18 years old. This program only serves families with children.
- 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. Once accepted into the program, case managers work with families to reduce their expenses and/or refer families to our Steps to Success program if they are interested in further education or a career change that may increase their earnings.
- Must be currently at risk of homelessness. This program serves families who are not yet homeless but are behind in rent or in eviction proceedings.
- One or two parent families are accepted with no gender restrictions. This differentiates Family Promise Metrowest since most programs DO NOT accept both men and women.
- Two parent families must have a minimum of one parent employed. All of our programs have this requirement to ensure families are motivated to take responsibility for their future.
- Must have the capacity to attend evening group meetings once/month in Natick and meet individually with their case manager a minimum of once/month. These meetings are essential to the future sustainability of the families and are therefore required.
- 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, 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.