Our agency works with families that are at-risk of or experiencing homelessness and support them to a safe and stable home. To be eligible for services the family must have at least one minor child in the household, or a woman who is pregnant, and be from Hillsborough County.
Our services include residential (emergency shelter) and non-residential (drop-in) services. Our programs:
• Prevention/Diversion helps families secure immediate alternative housing and connections to services/ financial assistance.
• Emergency Shelter provides families essential services including trauma-informed case management; housing search and placement; financial assistance for permanent housing; post-shelter support services for stability.
• Rapid Re-Housing provides short-term rental and utility assistance to homeless families.
• Work for Success assists homeless families find and retain employment.
Our staff uses trauma-informed strategies to stabilize families so that their transition into housing will be successful. Every family works with a Case Manager to develop an individualized plan to rebuild family stability with benchmarks toward permanent housing, employment, and community supports. Our staff meets new and current participants at our offices, in other shelter programs, hotels or motels; at their work during a break, at a safe community location such as a park or library, or where the client and staff member can feel safe. DFS staff also meet participants where they are with respect to their culture, family configuration, child welfare status, behavioral health condition, and so on. We pride ourselves in screening families into our services, not out. Services, in addition to finding housing include referrals for advocacy and mediation; mental and physical health services; food pantries, identify and supply material supports when needed; assist in eligible benefits; and assist in mediation with landlord/family/friend to maintain housing. DFS staff works with each family to equip them with these assets to mitigate their current crisis and to create long-term stability. Once families are stably housed, we work towards long term outcomes that will: 1) increase family well being, household income, and access to support services; 2) decrease family stressors; and 3) minimize or eliminate barriers such as criminal records, past evictions, and low credit scores that become obstacles to maintaining housing and preventing future homelessness. Our families have complex situations that often require services for up to a year as this is a time of high risk where families often destabilize due to a lack of vital supports. In providing longer term case management, we can assist families in becoming thoroughly stable in their housing and goal success and ensure that homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring.
Special Placement Information:
The Agency is accepting BSW Full time, Part-time BSW. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30. However, we often meet with clients in the evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate families' schedules. Transportation is required for this internship as they will need to travel to visit clients and to community events. Travel will be reimbursed for interns, but there is no stipend available. Video or audio taping is only permitted for agency purposes and only with a client's consent.