Florence Crittenton is delighted to announce the launch of a new program that provides access to permanent and stable, community-based housing, with supportive services to pregnant and parenting families ages 18-24 in the Helena community and surrounding areas.

With a rich history of serving pregnant and parenting teens, Florence Crittenton has worked for several years to extend supportive services with housing to an older age range that is so vitally needed in this community.

The REACH (Realizing Effective and Continuous Housing) program has been open less than a month and is already full with a waiting list.  There have been numerous calls from young women living in cars with children or living in campers filled with mold.  The need for these services in truly enormous.  Florence Crittenton is confident that this program will help families reach their goals of stabilized housing, accessing resources and achieve long-term success in our community.

Housing is often dealt with independently of other necessary services, but the REACH program provides housing in community apartments, with the added support of a case manager, landlord relationship-building assistance, tenant education, and access to all of Florence Crittenton’s Community –Based Programs including home visitation, parenting classes and support groups.

This new program was partially funded through a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the State’s HUD Continuum of Care.  Funding from HUD is broken into different components based on the type of housing support offered.  This particular program is funded through the Rapid Re-housing division of HUD, which focuses on first stabilizing housing for high priority populations, which includes families with young children, and then providing supportive services to ensure longevity of that housing.

The REACH program at FCHS will provide supportive services and rental assistance to young families who are at risk of homelessness or who are currently homeless.  The goal is to initially  break down barriers to entering housing, such as deposit assistance and navigating the application process, then provide limited rental assistance for as much as two years and help parents eventually become independent.  The family can then stay in the apartment , taking on full payment of rent and utilities permanently.  Additional funding for this program comes from community and private grant support.

This program is truly a community-based endeavor, with its success dependent on many relationships.  FCHS has been working with landlords, property managers, businesses, and other human service agencies to ensure these families have access to appropriate housing and services. In return, the impact of this project on the community will be substantial.  With safe, secure housing parents can focus on finding employment, as well as learning positive parenting skills that will ensure school readiness and overall health, wellbeing and resilience for their children.

The program allows Florence Crittenton to continue to utilize their knowledge and evidence-based programs within a framework that encompasses the trauma-informed care we know is critical to young families; all through a two generation approach focused on support for young mothers and their children.

Florence Crittenton’s Executive Director Barbara Burton said, “We believe every parent and child deserve a chance at a healthy family life.  The goal of this program is to ensure young parents and their children are housed and safe right now, and then set up with the skills and support they need to be successful in the future. The result of successful parents are healthy successful children.  I think that is something that everyone can support.”

About Florence Crittenton

Florence Crittenton is a trauma informed, relationship based organization that provides a wide variety of resources for pregnant and parenting teens and young families of all ages. Our residential program supports pregnant and parenting teens though an intensive program of mental health and parenting education in a loving home environment.  Community services focus on families with young children through early home visiting services and parenting education along with community activities for young families.