PART FOUR: ADVOCACY. Lend YOUR voice and change lives.

The following is part four of a short series written by Seacoast Family Promise’s on-staff Case Manager, Melissa Cardin. This series comprises Melissa’s reflections after attending the 2010 Family Promise ‘Dare to Dream’ Conference in Florida. Her workshops included trauma among guests, knowing the correct role for staff and volunteers, self-care for staff and time to restore balance, setting boundaries and knowing limits, and the importance of being an advocate for our guests. Melissa and several other representatives from Seacoast Family Promise attended the event and returned to New Hampshire inspired with fresh ideas, and an even stronger passion for the families we serve at Seacoast Family Promise.

“The Mission of Seacoast Family Promise is to empower families experiencing homelessness to achieve lasting self-sufficiency.”

PART FOUR: ADVOCACY. Lend YOUR voice and change lives.

One great thing that Seacoast Family Promise volunteers, staff and board can do is be an advocate for those who are experiencing homelessness. The 2010 advocacy campaign that Family Promise is rolling it is through a part of the program called Voices Uniting. The theme is “A Place to Call Home.”  Many people already acquainted with Seacoast Family Promise are advocates but aren’t aware of it. People don’t have to know a lot to become an advocate, just talk about what they know. We need to encourage guests and former guests to take part as well. We need to involved our state and local congress people – bring them in to volunteer, or get someone on their staff to do it! Let’s get involved in writing our state and local senators and representatives and create broad based partnerships. The stronger our partners, the better!

Some interesting statistics that our advocates can share:

  • Nationally, we are 3.1 million homes short. That means that for every 40 homes there are, we need an additional one.
  • There are only 37 rental homes available and affordable for every 100 households with incomes below 30% of their area’s median income.
  • Approximately 1.5 million children experience homelessness in any given year.
  • The high school graduation rate for homeless students is less than 25%
  • There is no city or county anywhere in the U.S. where a worker making the minimum wage can afford a fair market rate one-bedroom apartment.
Volunteers Are Key to Our Success

Seacoast Family Promise: Building community, strengthening lives

I’ve included at the end of this report some charts I made up with resources I was introduced to in this workshop as well. They are some interesting fast facts about poverty and homeless rates both nationally and state wide.

In part five of this series Melissa explores the power of mentoring and building partnerships.

*If you believe someone is in crisis, is an immediate threat to themselves or someone else, or is in imminent danger, please call 9-1-1, or visit the local emergency room. If you would like to learn more about the services offered by Seacoast Family Promise, we can be contacted at 603-658-8447.

For other information on SFP including ways to volunteer or donate, please visit our website at: www.SFPNH.org

Housing Matters National State
Fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment $959 $1,023
Housing Wage (required to afford a two-bedroom apartment) $18.44 $19.67
Actual average renter’s wage $14.44 $14.08
Minimum wage $7.25 $7.25
Weekly hours of work required at minimum wage to afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment 102 109
Our Children, Our Future National New Hampshire (2008)
Child Poverty in the United States
Number of children living in poverty 14,068,000 25,622
Percentage of children living in poverty 19% 8.8%
Percentage of children living in extreme poverty 7.8% 4.0%
Number of children who receive food stamps 12,559,379 25,313
Percentage of eligible people who receive food stamps 65% 55%
Number of children who are victims of abuse and neglect 905,000 822
Child Poverty and Race
Percentage of white children in poverty 13.3% 8.4%
Percentage of black children in poverty 34.5%
Percentage of Asian children in poverty 12%
Uninsured Children
Number of children without health insurance 8,900,000 21,000
Percentage of all children uninsured 11.3% 6.6%
Who Is My Neighbor? National State County
(Strafford)
Percent of People Below the Poverty Line 13.2% 7.6% 10.7%
Number of People Below the Poverty Line 39,829,000 97,158 12,365
Percent of Children Below the Poverty Line 19% 9% 9.0%
Number of Children Below the Poverty Line 14,068,000 25,878 2,321
Median Income by Household $52,175 $63,989 $60,230
Who Is My Neighbor? National State County
(Rockingham)
Percent of People Below the Poverty Line 13.2% 7.6% 4.0%
Number of People Below the Poverty Line 39,829,000 97,158 11,902
Percent of Children Below the Poverty Line 19% 9% 3.4%
Number of Children Below the Poverty Line 14,068,000 25,878 2,290
Median Income by Household $52,175 $63,989 $75,424
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About seacoastfamilypromise

The mission of SFP is to empower families experiencing homelessness to achieve lasting self-sufficiency. www.SFPNH.org
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