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2000 Best Practice Awards

Best of the Best Winner: Idaho

Best Practice: Homeward Bound by Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc.

Boise’s Homeless Families Become Self-Sufficient through Homeward Bound

Boise, Idaho. 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 America’s homeless children there is no “home”—not 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. Boise’s children are entitled to feel what is at the very core of human existence—the true meaning of having a home. Homeward Bound has helped provide this to these young children and their parents. Homeward Bound’s 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 flattery—it is the most appropriate.

Contact: Susan Rainey, Phone: (208) 343-4065
Tracking Number: 878
Winning Category: Geographic


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Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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