What is Diversion?
After falling short on her monthly rent, Natilie and her young children were evicted from their home. With the ongoing pandemic and an eviction on her record, she felt like stability would be impossible to reach. With assistance from our Diversion program, she found a new home within weeks and received financial and emotional support to build a better future for herself and her family. Natilie's situation is not uncommon. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated an already existing affordable housing crisis. Many families have been pushed into emergency housing situations following a job loss or healthcare costs among other unforeseen obstacles. We have a diverse set of programs that support families facing the varying degrees of housing instability that different circumstances bring. What sets us apart is our success rate and dedication to providing a pathway of comprehensive support that meets the individualized needs of each family we serve.
For some families, emergency shelter at Family Promise is the best answer to a housing crisis. For others, the best approach may be to employ shelter diversion so a family never experiences an episode of homelessness and does not enter shelter’s door. With a creative and hands-on case management practice, shelter diversion identifies a family’s strengths and assets, engages landlords and community members, maps existing resources, and brings a family into a stable housing environment. Diversion supports families experiencing a housing crisis to either a) restore housing, or b) identify a safe place to avoid entering shelter. At its core, the practice is trauma-informed, client-centered, and sees homelessness as a crisis that needs to be mediated.
To further our diversion work, we were recently awarded a Helping Hands grant from National Family Promise to distribute funds directly to the families we serve for unexpected, emergency needs including rent, utilities, furniture, transportation, medical expenses, and childcare. The Helping Hands emergency grant program will enable us to assist a family in crisis and help them avoid the trauma of homelessness and a stay in shelter. We have already received a portion of the grant, but to release the remaining funds we need your help! Help us raise $5,000 locally to unlock $20,000 in total funding for Diversion services on Oahu.
Housing is a Human Right
This legislative session, there are numerous measures being introduced to increase access to resources and housing for low-income families. Family Promise of Hawaii, as a member of Partner In Care, supports the following legislative priorities and encourages our network of supporters to consider submitting testimony on the following:
Housing voucher discrimination
SB2399: prohibits rental discrimination against persons based on source of income, including housing assistance programs such as Section 8. This measure needs to be scheduled for a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee in order to move forward.
SB2504, WAM, Wednesday 3/2 @10:15am: establishes landlord incentive program special fund as a damage mitigation fund for landlords participating in housing voucher programs-Talking points: strongly support adding other housing voucher programs beyond Sections 8 to include rapid rehousing vouchers and permanent supportive housing vouchers
Building of more affordable housing and keeping units affordable for households
Funding for more affordable housing
HB 1744 & SB 3368: development and construction of permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals and families. These measures need to be scheduled for hearings by the Housing Committee on Finance and Senate Ways & Means in order to move forward.
HB2511, FIN hearing 3/1 at 11am: $600 M to Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) to build for-sale housing for Hawaiian beneficiaries-Talking points: need for more housing for native Hawaiians who are disproportionately impacted by homelessness
Expansion of shallow subsidies
HB2233: Authorizes the department of human services to provide housing assistance subsidies of up to $500 per month to TANF and TAONF program participants who are participating in the first-to-work program.
Cheers to 16 years!
For nearly 16 years, volunteers have given their time, resources, energy and love to providing a safe space for vulnerable families experiencing homelessness. Before the pandemic, volunteers at congregations welcomed families into their space to sleep overnight, while also providing delicious meals that everyone enjoyed together. Although the overnight sleeping arrangements have changed, and meals are no longer enjoyed family-style, volunteers still show up with the same commitment to loving service that they have since Family Promise first came to 'Oahu. The above video is a small glimpse of some of the people who have worked tirelessly to help end family homelessness. We are proud that our network is full of wonderful people, and continues to grow. Big mahalo to our beloved Volunteer 'Ohana!
Meet the Team
An Interview with Melissa-Anne and Quinn,
The FPH team (staff, volunteers, and board members) is diverse. We value this diversity as one of the strongest factors in our collective success. Drawing upon our range of cultural backgrounds, skills, educational levels, beliefs, and experiences fosters empathy, creativity, and community. In our upcoming newsletters we will be featuring a variety of team members at FPH so you can get to know them a little better.
This month, we get to know Melissa-Anne and her daughter Quinn.
What brought you to Family Promise?
Melissa-Anne: As a former Girl Scout, I felt it was important that my little Girl Scout Brownie abide by the Girl Scout promise of "helping others at all times." We searched for organizations online, and stumbled upon Family Promise of Hawai'i!
Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
Quinn: is a ballet dancer, pianist and budding artist!
Melissa-Anne: is learning the art of tai chi
What’s something you’re proud of?
Quinn: having ADHD
Melissa-Anne: I'm proud of Quinn for her unwavering determination to succeed, but most of all, her big heart.
What’s something you find challenging about your work at Family Promise?
We would like to do more!
When you are not working, what's your favorite way to relax?
Quinn: reading comic books, coding and playing Minecraft
Melissa-Anne: definitely afternoon naps