PLATINUM2024

Families Forward

Until every family has a home

Irvine, CA   |  www.families-forward.org

Mission

Families Forward exists to prevent and end family homelessness by providing access to housing and resources that create lasting stability. Since 1984, our guiding principle has been to link support with accountability by providing comprehensive tools and resources to families in crisis as they regain stability. Volunteers and in-kind donations of food are integral to our service delivery. Volunteers manage our food pantry, front desk and phone referral services. Funding is provided by individuals, families, corporations, foundations and government agencies. Working with and through the community, Families Forward provides safety-net services to families in crisis, assisting them as they work towards stability for their children.

Notes from the nonprofit

Families Forward is proud to share that we have earned Charity Navigator's top 4 Star rating for more than a decade, placing our agency among the top 2% of rated charities nationwide. Through Families Forward's careful management of resources, an extensive volunteer corps, and thousands of food and product donations, 93% of all financial contributions directly fund programs and services to client families.

Ruling year info

1985

Chief Executive Officer

Mrs. Madelynn Hirneise

Main address

8 Thomas

Irvine, CA 92618 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Irvine Temporary Housing

EIN

33-0086043

NTEE code info

Other Housing Support Services (L80)

Family Services (P40)

Housing Search Assistance (L30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2023, 2022 and 2021.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

A 2023 Orange County Grand Jury Report estimates that over 23,000 children in Orange County are currently experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. With inflation and the high cost of living in Orange County, housing and food insecure families need supportive services and resources now more than ever. At Families Forward, the number of families at risk of or experiencing homelessness and seeking services has risen to record levels. Last year, we received 2,980 calls from families in need of housing assistance. Of those families, 701 were literally homeless. This far surpasses what we thought was our record-breaking number of requests for services during the peak of the pandemic. Pandemic supplemental funding is no longer available from the federal government to support Orange County families experiencing homelessness. The real crisis is now. With an overwhelming number of families at risk of losing their housing, funding to sustain services and keep families housed is vital.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Housing Program

The Housing Program supports families in becoming stable and self-sufficient. Families experiencing homelessness are placed in one of Families Forward's 90+ owned or partner units*, helping to integrate each family into their neighborhood. Effort is made to place families in their preferred communities and school districts so that children’s lives maintain consistency and experience less disruption. Families budget and pay a portion of their income towards rent to reinforce fiscal responsibility and accountability. After addressing the immediate need of housing, families work with Case Managers to create individualized plans that help them meet their goals and address specific needs. Through a comprehensive array of services such as counseling, food, life-skills education and career coaching, families gain skills and access tools needed to make permanent changes and prevent future incidents of homelessness.

*Families Forward plans to reach 100 units by 2023.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Families

With the rising cost of housing and wages not keeping pace, Families Forward has continued to see high demand for assistance from families throughout the county. Since 1984, our Homeless Prevention programs have provided comprehensive support to low-income families who are at-risk of becoming, or are, homeless and assist them in achieving stability. Through Families Forward’s various safety-net services, at-risk families are given access to assistance such as our on-site food pantry, counseling, career coaching, and life skills education. Through the support of our dedicated and trained volunteers, Families Forward also provides individualized phone referrals to families seeking assistance if their needs cannot be met through Families Forward.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

2020 Nonprofit of the Year 2020

California Assembly District 74

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of households that obtain/retain permanent housing for at least 6 months

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families, Homeless people

Related Program

Housing Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes prevention services.

Number of children and youth who have received access to stable housing

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Infants and toddlers, Children and youth

Related Program

Housing Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of people within the organization's service area accessing food aid

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Homeless Prevention Services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Number of job skills training courses/workshops conducted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Housing Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In the 2017/2018 year, Families Forward moved to a one-on-one career coaching method and lessened the workshops. The metrics show the unduplicated individuals served through one-on-one and workshops.

Total number of counseling sessions performed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Homeless Prevention Services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

More than 21,000 volunteer hours are contributed each year.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of phone calls/inquiries

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This number includes phone call requests for services.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Families Forward exists to prevent and end family homelessness by providing access to housing and resources that create lasting stability. At Families Forward we see an Orange County where every family has a home and the opportunity to thrive. It is our belief that by linking support with accountability, families can help themselves regain and maintain financial self-sufficiency. From providing housing and food assistance, career coaching, mental health counseling, to financial literacy education, we’re as committed to strengthening overall wellbeing as we are to ensuring everyone has a place to call home.  

Over the next three years, the aim of Families Forward is to further advance its mission to prevent and end family homelessness by developing a 3-year intentional growth and outcome plan. The overarching goal is to build capacity, increase access to affordable housing, diversify revenue, and ensure long-term financial sustainability and impact to address the growing number of families and individuals experiencing homelessness in Orange County.



Strategic Plan 2023-2027 Priority Areas & Key Strategies

After experiencing record growth in response to the unprecedented community need during the pandemic and economic downturn, Families Forward has embarked on a 1-year exploratory period to identify gaps in homeless services for underserved populations, research opportunities to diversify and grow revenue, invest in affordable housing development, and continue to increase brand awareness with the goal of creating a 3-year growth and outcome plan to serve more families experience homelessness or housing insecurity. The Priority Areas and Key Strategies include:

-Affordable Housing
Invest in, advocate for, and develop critically needed affordable housing units with long-term supportive services to create economic mobility for more housing insecure families. 

-Revenue Diversification
Increase and diversify revenue streams to ensure long-term sustainability and impact.

-Mission Expansion & Impact
Explore expansion of homeless prevention services to underserved populations such as Transitional Aged Youth and Adult Families.

-Brand Awareness
Increase awareness of Families Forward as a leader in preventing and ending family homelessness through advocacy, outreach to families, and engagement with community members.

Families Forward takes pride in its diverse and experienced 30-member Board of Directors, 49 staff members, and 1,450 plus annual volunteers including 70 weekly volunteers. Families Forward is committed to hiring staff across all client-based programs who are bi-lingual and bi-cultural to help eliminate barriers and ensure the families we serve receive equal opportunities through our comprehensive services. Within the Families Forward Housing Program, we have Spanish bilingual staff readily accessible to assist clients with language barriers as well as a subscription with Boostlingo to give all our client’s access to remote interpretation.

Families Forward utilizes a Housing First model, with the belief that once a family is securely housed, supportive services can then provide the resources needed for a family to overcome their unique challenges and achieve economic stability. Clients may access a myriad of services—food, housing assistance, counseling, and career coaching—at our program centers in Irvine or Santa Ana. These offices act as access points for families seeking services and provide a physical presence in two of the three service planning areas in Orange County. As an Orange County Continuum of Care partner, Families Forward takes a county-wide approach to assessing, serving, and measuring homelessness for individuals and families. We actively collaborate with The Family Solutions Collaborative, CalOptima Health, Human Options, Strong Families Strong Children Collaborative, and local school districts to fulfill our mission.

In fiscal year 2023, Families Forward prevented or ended homelessness for 724 families (2,502 children and their parents) and provided services to over 14,325 individuals. During the same time, 44,180 meals were provided to 6,194 food insecure Orange County residents through our food pantry. Last year, 93% of graduating families remained stably housed one year after completing our program. With the unprecedented need for services, we expect these service numbers to continue growing over the next couple of years. 



During the first year of the 2023-2027 Strategic Plan, the Families Forward Board of Directors and leadership team created subcommittees for each priority area to thoroughly explore community needs, opportunities, financial implications, and risks. The subcommittees have made steady progress, and the organization has continued to exceed programmatic and service goals.

We are excited to share a recent partnership, Valencia Garden. This affordable housing community, located in the city of Orange, will consist of 62 units for individuals and families. Families Forward has access to 28 of these units for client families in our Affordable Housing Program. We will be providing onsite supportive services to our clients and to this community at large. Recently, Families Forward was awarded $2.5 million from CalOptima Health, and $2 million from the City of Tustin to help build our first ever ground-up new construction affordable housing community. We plan to break ground in 2025. Once completed, this site will house up to eight previously homeless families in Tustin.


How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals, To inform our Strategic Plan

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve, Some clients are in crisis and not in a position to share their story.

Financials

Families Forward
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Families Forward

Board of directors
as of 05/16/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Karin Pearson

Capital Group

Term: 2020 - 2024

David Snow

Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine

Ryan Warne-McGaw

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Jon Radus

Fullerton Police Department

Debbie Thomsen

Community Volunteer

Victor Cao

California Apartment Association

Karin Pearson

Capital Group

Martha Bayer

Community Leader

Tristen Cali

Pacific Premier Bank

Nancy Chase

Community Leader

Dennis Deslatte

Community Leader

Peter Hering

Rutan & Tucker, LLP

Nicholas Meraz

Community Leader

Kitty Shen

Community Leader

Dr. Vinita Speir

Pacific Women's Healthcare Associates

Susan McMclintic

Community Leader

Christy Mokrohisky

Providence

Danyell Alders

AvalonBay Communities

Bhavna Mantha

Aspisero Inc.

Debbie Chamkasem

Experian

Mayra Cerda

Community Leader

Bradley Comp

Ayco, A Goldman Sachs Company

Yann de Fabrique

Irvine Company

Judy Cooper

Community Leader

James Kim

Lewis Group

Michael Kaufman

Community Leader

Joseph Rasuli

U.S. Bank

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/11/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/30/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.