Families Helping Families is a grass roots neighborhood organization started by a Naperville mom in 1994, with the sole focus of helping homeless families in DuPage County. FHF provides apartments and supportive services to homeless families while they are working to reclaim their lives.
Our adopted families are usually homeless mothers and their children who have been victims of domestic violence or poverty. These are mothers who are struggling to provide housing, foodand even clothing for their children—women who want to become self-sufficient but lack the financial means to pay for rent and the education to obtain the kind of jobs that will allow them to provide for their families. While the circumstances surrounding their housing crises differ, there is one universal truth—they are deeply concerned about their children and truly believe that, with assistance, they can provide a better life for them. Families Helping Families provides housing, mentoring, and supportive services with the end goal being self-sufficiency and overcoming the vicious cycle of several generations of abuse and poverty.
Only families that are drug free and have removed themselves from their domestic violence situation are eligible for our services. They are screened by licensed social workers from Bridge Communities, Inc. a 501(c)(3) that serves as our umbrella organization. Each mom signs a contract, renewable every 3 months, with Families Helping Families, agreeing to adhere to the rules of our program. Goals are reviewed and revised quarterly as well. The average stay in our program is 2 years.
Our FHF families live in apartments in DuPage County that our program provides. We gather gently used furniture, bedding and kitchen items— all the tools needed to start a new life. Then the real work begins— helping a family move from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
Each family works with two FHF volunteer mentors, as well as a professional case manager. The mentors, who have completed a training program preparing them for the challenge, meet with their clients weekly. They help each mom enroll in college or trade school or ESL or GED classes. Mentors work with clients to establish budgets and repay debt. They work with the local schools in order to advocate for the client’s children. Most importantly, the mentors provide guidance, encouragement, and emotional support. Local dentists, attorneys, CPA’s, car repair shops, etc provide their services to our clients free of charge.