2000 Best Practice Awards
Best of the Best Winner: Idaho
Best Practice: Homeward Bound by Neighborhood
Housing Services, Inc.
Boises Homeless Families Become Self-Sufficient
through Homeward Bound
Every child should look forward to going home at the end of the school day.
To be comforted by the sights, sounds and smells of home after a long day
of learning. But for many of Americas homeless children there is no
homenot in the traditional sense of the word. Homeward
Bound, originally funded by the city of Boise, the Northwest Area Foundation
and other local corporations, is a two-year comprehensive program to transition
homeless families with children into a place that is all mine.
Boise, like other cities across the U.S.,
had no transitional housing program for its homeless residents. There was
a city-wide need for a comprehensive program to help these families move
from shelters into permanent housing but more importantly, to assure their
success they do.
Homeward Bound is more than a transitional
housing program. Its ultimate goal is to address the needs of the entire
family through comprehensive services geared at success for each family
member. Homeward Bound families are offered a full range of social services
including career development, education, case management and counseling,
personal home budgeting and credit counseling, nutrition, home maintenance,
and parenting workshops. The program uses scattered-site housing, which
removes the stigma of living in a shelter and allows families
to become part of a neighborhood and the community.
Since its creation in 1987, Homeward Bound
has served hundreds of families. Eighty-two percent of the families either
have jobs or are in school and move into permanent housing when leaving
the program. Many of the families that leave the program no longer receive
welfare and health benefits, adding to the effectiveness of the program.
Some families even achieve homeownership during their enrollment in the
Homeward Bound program. Boises children are entitled to feel what
is at the very core of human existencethe true meaning of having a
home. Homeward Bound has helped provide this to these young children and
their parents. Homeward Bounds efforts at isolating a simple human
need, developing and organizing a work plan, and securing the necessary
funding are a model for cities across the U.S. In this instance, imitation
is more than the highest form of flatteryit is the most appropriate.
Contact: Susan Rainey, Phone: (208) 343-4065
Tracking Number: 878
Winning Category: Geographic