News

Innovative Housing Pilot for Homeless Families

December 3, 2015

San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) and Monarch School announced the launch of a pilot project, coined “Keys 2 Opportunity” to provide federal rental assistance housing vouchers to 25 families with children enrolled at the Monarch School in San Diego. Monarch School is one of only a handful of schools nationwide that specifically serve homeless children.

“While securing housing is just the first step out of homelessness, it’s our hope that this initiative’s combination of housing assistance, workforce training, case management and student education will help our families build long-term self-sufficiency,” said Monarch School CEO Erin Spiewak.

Program components include:

    • Housing: To help stabilize families, SDHC provided rental assistance to twenty-five (25) homeless families with children enrolled at Monarch School in addition to resources for deposits.
    • Academic Excellence: Keys 2 Opportunity asks families for two commitments. First, it asks them to keep their children enrolled at Monarch School. Second, the program asks them to participate actively in their children’s education. This means getting their students to school on time, attending parent-teacher-student conferences and regularly check-in with Monarch’s Parent Advocate.
    • Work Readiness: Keys 2 Opportunity requires parents to participate in the SDHC’s Achievement Academy and work towards their education and employment goals, building towards self-sufficiency.
    • Supportive Services: The project provided the parents with supportive services to help them fulfill these commitments. Monarch School’s Parent Advocate provides case management support and arranges services from partner agencies.
    • Third-Party Evaluation: University of San Diego will provide third party evaluation and track program outcomes.

The program was inspired by the Tacoma Housing Authority’s McCarver Special Housing Program supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Community groups and interested individuals can support this program by creating “Welcome Kits.” Read more here.

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