Father Joe’s Villages: A Behind the Scenes Look at What it Takes to Run a Shelter

November 7, 2015

Father Joe’s Villages provides housing services for over 2,000 of our homeless neighbors each day and we also prepare and serve over 1 million meals a year.  Over the last 65 years, we have grown to become a one-stop-shop for our neighbors to find their path to permanent housing and, for the purposes of this post, the focus will be on the dynamics of our Family Living Center.

The Family Living Center (FLC) is a critical housing program at Father Joe’s Villages, offering safe and welcoming housing and crucial wrap around services for families experiencing homelessness. For this program, we offer 28 rooms with 110 beds for families, with one family per room. Unlike many other local programs, we are able to accommodate families of all shapes and sizes, recognizing the importance of maintaining family stability. Within the 110,000 square foot Joan Kroc Center, the Family Living Center also offers indoor and outdoor communal spaces for recreation and relaxation, a dining room, and laundry facilities.

At Father Joe’s Villages, we believe in each family’s ability to achieve a stable source of income and permanent housing. To assist in their growth and attainment of independence, we offer on-site supportive services such as therapeutic childcare, case management, access to a licensed Federally Qualified Health Center providing integrated physical and behavioral healthcare, substance abuse treatment, education and employment services, and three meals per day. Our campus provides easy access to places of employment, training programs, and other economically empowering services.

An integral service for families is the Therapeutic Childcare Program, which is available free of charge to Family Living Center residents. Open to children ranging in age from infants to 17 years old, this program provides developmental assessments, treatment, and therapeutic care through a State-licensed facility. As parents in the Family Living Center pursue or maintain employment, they can rest assured that their children are cared for in a healthy and enriching environment. Therapeutic Childcare provides children with a solid developmental foundation upon which they grow and break the cycle of poverty:

  • 90% of children ages 6 to 14 who read below the 4th grade level will show improved reading skills.
  • 85% of adults will feel supported and confident in their ability to parent and care for their children.

Another important resource to the Family Living Center is the Employment and Education Services program, which offers critical job skills development and adult education programs that enable the families we serve break the cycles of poverty and homelessness through employment. The Family Living Center stabilizes families who experience homelessness, helping them grow stronger.

Our strategy to running a successful shelter is thinking of the many different ways we can help. The multitude of services allows us to tailor support in keeping with the unique needs of each of our residents, so that they can focus their efforts on their families and towards achieving permanent housing in the near future. Thank you for joining us as we serve our neighbors in need.

God Bless,

Deacon Jim Vargas

President and CEO, Father Joe’s Villages