Our Partner Spotlight highlights the work of our partner charity organizations that serve the community year round. This week, we’re learning more about HomeStretch of Roswell, Georgia, a provider of transitional housing and support services for the homeless. The Santas have been delivering trees to HomeStretch families since 2011 and we asked Program Director Carol Swan to tell us more about her organization.
Santas: Hi Carol. Educate us on the mission of HomeStretch.
Carol: The mission of HomeStretch is to guide working, homeless families to permanent stability through intensive case management, LifeSkills education, mentoring and affordable housing.
HomeStretch has served homeless families in the North Fulton area since 1991. Annually, over 80% of the families in program pay down significant debt, increase income, secure better employment and pay rent on time (based on income) every month.
Santas: So, how many families are in your transitional homes at any one time, and how many do you support annually?
Carol: HomeStretch has 38 apartments. 8 apartments are simply affordable housing. 30 apartments are for families in program. Program typically serves 115 people annually—about 36 families. HomeStretch works with single parents (men or women) and married couples.
Santas: What do you see as the biggest misconception that people might have about homelessness?
Carol: Homelessness has many “faces”. Often people picture homeless individuals on the street. That is certainly a society challenge. However many working, low income families are financially fragile—rent burdened and vulnerable to homelessness. That is the population HomeStretch serves. The challenge for the suburbs is there is a great need for workforce—people to work hourly jobs but not much affordable, safe housing. That tension creates stability risk for families such as those in the HomeStretch program.
Santas: How do your client families feel about receiving a Christmas tree for the holidays?
Carol: The families are so grateful for the Christmas trees. Most are single parents, working hard but not earning much. There is no real margin for items like a Christmas tree. Yet, we serve families and having a beautiful tree to celebrate the season lends itself to a beautiful celebration and memory for the kids.
Santas: Great. Thanks for all the help you provide to your clients and the community.