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Families Moving Forward hours of service extended during weekday school closings during coldest months

Project Hope for the Homeless expanding service for families with children

Project Hope for the Homeless is working to close a gap in services it provides for families with children by keeping the shelter open all-day for these guests during weekday school closings during the coldest months of a school year.

The Families Moving Forward program serves up to 12 guests nightly and operates in a separate wing of our 25 Freedom Road facility from 1 p.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays and 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekends.

Typically, our partners at Salvation Army in Painesville are open 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and offer a hot lunch as well as other support, but there are occasions when they are not open on holidays. When schools are not in session during the week, there has not always been an appropriate place for the children to go with their family after they exit the shelter at 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Project Hope for the Homeless has worked diligently as part of its strategic planning for 2020 to address this six-hour gap when children normally would be in school during a weekday.

Families Moving Forward remained open all day on MLK Day and President’s Day earlier this year and will do the same for an upcoming five-day spring break, two parent-teacher conferences, a two-day break for Thanksgiving, and a 10-day Christmas break.

“This is an initiative I believe everyone can get behind. Meeting the needs of babies, toddlers and school-aged children and youth have to be a priority for us to have a safe, successful community,” said Judy Burr, Project Hope for the Homeless executive director. “The children do bounce back and are truly resilient once their parents feel secure”.

Upcoming plans for later in the year, likely to start in October, include expanding the hours the Families Moving Forward program is open on weekends. However, these plans are not yet finalized as Project Hope for the Homeless works to ensure proper funding and staffing levels are in place.

Project Hope for the Homeless, which is the only emergency shelter in Lake County, is a 50-bed, year-round facility. Since 1993, the organization has worked with more than 8,000 individuals to provide proactive solutions to help them improve their housing situation, quality of life, and become more self-sufficient.

In 2019, Project Hope for the Homeless overall served an all-time high number of 476 guests at the shelter.

The Families Moving Forward program served 117 individuals last year including 71 children and 46 adults and provides these guests with greater consistency and routine in a child-friendly, family-focused program to help build resiliency one family at a time.

Reservations to stay at Project Hope for the Homeless are required and handled by calling 211 in Lake County. Guests are provided a safe place to sleep, basic needs, and one-on-one care and guidance to individuals and families from Northeast Ohio.

The mission of Project Hope for the Homeless is to respond to respectfully and compassionately empower persons who are homeless with hope by providing emergency and transitional shelter, care and guidance together with the community.