There are many different initiatives within United Way of Greater Atlanta to combat homelessness, help families, feed the hungry and provide hope and stability for people in need.
While Kids Home Initiative helps with all of these things, there’s a difference. Children become the focus behind finding a solution.
“In this program, the kid is the starting point. They are the reference point,” said Amy Barrow, director of the Kids Home Initiative. “We start with housing, and we get referrals from Homelessness Liaisons at the school or a social worker about a family that is in a crisis. We also get in contact with apartment complexes, and we have good relationships with the office managers that know that community well.”
Kids Home is a comprehensive solution helping children avoid or escape homelessness by assisting children and families have secure and successful futures. They do it by helping kids stay in school.
“The overarching mission is to keep kids in their school of origin,” Barrow says.
By keeping kids in their own school regardless of their living situations, Kids Home can provide the child with at least one point of stability even though the rest of their life may be in flux.
And then, Kids Home can start to help parents by providing stable housing.
“We try to get them stably housed,” Barrow said. “It’s not crisis intervention. We’re not able to help someone if they have zero income, but we’re trying to stabilize them. Sometimes, it’s about helping with the extra move-in costs, turning on utilities or helping with a deposit.”
Miquael Williams moved to Atlanta from Daytona Beach, Florida with a pair of children. His marriage ended after the move, and this left him as the sole guardian. Unfortunately, things went south quickly.
His family moved from place-to-place and house-to-house. Williams’ car broke down, and this cost him his employment. He struggled to pay his rent, and he was later robbed at gunpoint at his apartment complex.
Williams needed help, and that’s where Kids Home came in. United Way connected him to partner organizations that helped him with receiving housing services.
“None of the places stood us up on our feet like United Way did,” Miquael says.
For more information or to sponsor Kids Home Initiative, contact Amy Barrow at email@example.com.