He said there are several ways the program is effective.
“We use existing structures within the county that keeps costs very low compared to building or maintaining existing structures,” he said. “It has multiple components, the most important of which are that there will be host congregations or groups within the county that house the families one week per quarter, or on average four times per year. Any given week there will be only about 13 to 15 individuals, three to four families, going through this program. All of them will be in the same place within the county.”
He then went over how a typical week would play out.
“They will be in the same host congregation within that week,” he said. “During the evening they will stay in that facility and that host congregation will house them for that week. During the day, a van will transport them to a day center where they will receive a lot of case management. So much of homelessness is procrastination and this allows us to tackle that head on and really start to address those issues. During the day the kids will go to school, when school’s in session and then in the evening the families are carted back to that host congregation.”
Hartley said the strength of the program lies within the interactions the homeless families will receive.
“They don’t come back to an empty church,” he said. “They come back to volunteers from the congregation preparing dinner for them. (They are) ready to sit and talk with them, ask them about their day, and help with homework with the kids. Somebody stays over with them to make sure that everybody is safe, then in the morning, other volunteers come in and provide breakfast. These families, who up until this point have felt like social pariahs, suddenly realize that they’re human just like the rest of us. That’s how we aim to break the cycle rather than just sustain the same process over and over again.”