Our program objective is clear: to equip our families with the tools/skills they need to rise from homelessness to self-sufficient lives that include secure housing, steady income and reliable transportation. Families are referred to Family Promise of Greater Nashua (FPGN) through a network of social service providers. Guests entering the program must be drug-free and sober; have a source of income (gov’t assistance is acceptable) seeking employment or involved in a job training program; and agree to follow the house rules. The maximum length of stay for a family in the FPGN program is 1 year. Unique in the area, FPGN serves all types of families – single mother, single father, pregnant woman, two parent, grandparent/grandchild – and unlike other area organizations there are no age restrictions on the parent or the child up to and including 18 if they are in school.
The families arrive with financial issues, legal entanglements, health concerns, child care problems, and other matters that can impede a family’s progress in moving toward a stable, self-sufficient life. Upon arrival, each family works with the Director of Family Services to develop comprehensive housing and financial plans that identify obstacles to a sustainable lifestyle and goals/objectives to overcome these obstacles. Plan actions may include searching for employment, obtaining a GED or continuing education courses, credit counseling, ELL classes, acquiring reliable transportation, and securing quality, affordable daycare. A unique aspect of our program is that FPGN families do not pay rent at any time during their stay; instead, families are required to save 75% of their disposable income toward housing expenses when they leave. The FPGN philosophy remains that while our families are attempting to get back on their feet, it is important that they learn to budget and save their earnings to put toward security deposits and/or down payments enabling them to secure and maintain sustainable housing when they graduate from the program. In addition to shelter, food and other basic necessities, families are required to participate in parenting and financial literacy programs offered by FPGN and to show weekly progress toward both their short and long-term goals.