Updated: Sep 2, 2022
This blog provides the top 5 highlights or updates about Family Promise of Waukesha County for Friday, September 2, 2022.
Our mission is to help low-income families and families experiencing homelessness achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.
The stories you can read this week are:
Would you be in favor of increasing the number of vouchers available to families in poverty, which would ensure they do not pay more than 30% of their income on rent?
Our photo of the week is of Callie, our Prevention Case Manager, celebrating her first year with us at Family Promise of Waukesha County.
1. ALMOST HOME
Last week we shared a story about one of our shelter families, a great grandmother and her three year old great grandson, and their struggle to find housing; as their housing voucher was about to expire. Since then, there has been positive progress! The landlord found a unit that is cheaper and fits into the parameters for the voucher. Great news!
The next step is for the unit to be inspected by the agency providing the voucher. Once approved it will become their home.
We are happy and relieved that this looks more promising. And yet, the story does reflect the current limitations families are experiencing. Even families who have assistance. It also demonstrates the persistence that families in advocating for themselves. In this instance, albeit immeasurable, it appears Courtney’s continued advocacy for this family with the agency and the appears to landlord was important.
When working with outside agencies, you do not have to be disrespectful to get results. You just need to be persistent. And use multiple forms of communication!
- Courtney Rutkowski
2. AMI + AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Area Media Income (AMI) is the household income for the median or middle household in a given region. Thus, if you were to line up each household from poorest to wealthiest, the household in the very middle would be considered the median. This marker is often used as a determinant for assistance. It relates to affordable housing because when it is stated that there are only 36 affordable housing units available for every 100 households that need one, it is referring to families whose income is 30% of AMI.
In Waukesha County, 30% of AMI for a family of 3 would be $25,312. Can you imagine being a single parent raising two children on $25,312?
Unfortunately, this would be the high end for most of those we serve in the Family Homelessness Prevention program. From July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, we served 59 unique households. Of those 59 families, there was not one whose annual income was more than $24,999. The percentages were:
Every single family we assisted with prevention funding was below 30% AMI.
Yet even for families who are at 80% of AMI there is a shortage of housing that they can afford.
It is extremely difficult for families to make ends meet.
What can I do?
Research issues to have a better understanding about family homelessness as well as
policies being put in place to support families. Some resources are:
Help others know that most families who are struggling it begins with situations outside their
Volunteer and by getting involved learn about the lives of to learn about the issue.
Provide resources to support families with rent assistance and shelter.
POLL OF THE WEEK
Last week it was a clean sweep. 14 people voted and everyone said they were in favor of providing additional affordable housing in our community!
3. CORPORATE HOUSING
Essentially, financialization of housing is the term used when corporations buy up houses en masse and then rent them out, trying to squeeze as much profit as possible. In this scenario, housing is no longer about families having a place to reside. It is a commodity to be bought and sold.
We consulted with our friends at the Meadows and they stated that they have not seen this happening in Waukesha County. It seems that in Waukesha most of the larger landlords remain family run companies. Yet based on information from other Family Promise affiliates it does seem that it is something happening across the country.
Learn more about the financialization of housing here:
Unfortunately in Milwaukee, nearly 400 homes have been purchased by out of state agencies. Acts Housing decided to purchase homes to disrupt the corporate purchases and attempt to nurture home ownership in the community.
4. UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
Grateful for the Waukesha Civic Theatre and Judge Derek Mosley for offering a session on Unconscious Bias. Spend some time on September 19, reflecting on your own unconscious bias, presuppositions and assumptions that guide our lives. As an agency that works in a multi-ethnic and interfaith world it is important that all of us are aware of our own biases. We hope all involved with Family Promise will attend.
5. HAPPY LABOR DAY!
Wishing you and your family a restful Labor Day.
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Here are some upcoming dates we want you to be aware of:
September 5 Office is closed for Labor Day
September 19-23 National Symposium
Joe, Courtney and Maria participate in the Family Promise national symposium. There will be limited office hours that week. Please call ahead before stopping by the office.
October 9 Joe speaks at First Congregational UCC, Oconomowoc
October 16-23 Family Promise Week
Family Promise week will be held the week of October 16-23. This week celebrates the anniversary of the founding of Family Promise and the assistance it has provided families experiencing homelessness since 1986.
October 22 A Night Without a Bed
Raise awareness about family homelessness and the chaos it creates by participating in a Night Without A Bed. Sleep in your car, a tent or the floor and post on social media so others learn about families experiencing homelessness.
October 30 Joe speaks at St. Therese, Eagle
Connect with our staff to answer any questions you may have.
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You can also join our Facebook volunteer group to learn about volunteer opportunities.