A comprehensive solution to help children avoid or escape homelessness
and stay in school by helping their families regain stable housing.
When students are not performing well in school, sometimes the source of the issue is not in the classroom. Too many in our metro area switch schools multiple times during a school year because their family is homeless, putting them off track on their education and reducing their chances of a successful future. In Greater Atlanta, in the Austell and Clarkston Area schools alone, more than 30 percent of the kids are homeless., and therefore at risk of falling behind in school. Homeless kids switch schools on average three or more times in a given school year, as their families are forced to move from place to place. Switching schools can result in increased difficulty keeping up with educational curriculum and reduced chances of graduating.
United Way's Role
United Way identified areas in Greater Atlanta with large number of at-risk students and researched the need, the context and what works to get students and their families back on track. Their efforts linked best practices from the nonprofit housing sector with resources from the public school system to develop a comprehensive solution, linking housing assistance, public school system resources and case management services to provide integrated support for the whole family. United Way then secured additional funding from private foundations that could pilot this new initiative. United Way partners with the Siemer Family Foundation, the school system, homeless service providers and other non-profit organizations to help children avoid or escape homelessness, assisting families who are at risk of becoming homeless regain secure and successful futures.
Sweetwater Mission's Role
Sweetwater Mission was chosen by United Way of Metro Atlanta as the lead partner agency to serve the Cobb and Douglas County School System. The overall health and well-being of the family is addressed in a series of steps. Working closely with a Case Manager the family receives assistance with permanent stable housing along with education opportunities to promote self-sufficiency. As the lead agency in Cobb and Douglas Counties, we have built a community of partners that will work together to help families thrive!
Since the inception of the program in 2013, the Kids Home Initiative has assisted a total of 101 families find stable housing and 378 children stay in school and stay on track for graduation with plans to expand the initiative to other communities.