PENNSYLVANIA HOME OF THE SPARROW

Housing, Education, Support

aka Home of the Sparrow   |   Exton, PA   |  www.homeofthesparrow.org

Mission

Home of the Sparrow partners with women facing homelessness to secure housing, achieve long-term stability, and chart new paths for their futures.

Ruling year info

1994

Chief Executive Officer

Michelle E Venema

Main address

969 East Swedesford Road

Exton, PA 19341 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-2775004

NTEE code info

Other Housing Support Services (L80)

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Living expenses are extremely high in Chester County and the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,210. To afford this - without paying more than 30% of income on housing - a household must earn $48,400 annually. This means that a person working at the minimum-wage level of $7.25/per hour would need to work 3.2 full-time jobs.
Poverty, poor housing conditions and housing instability have severe long-term negative consequences, both financially as well as emotionally, especially for children. Home of the Sparrow supports single women and mothers to break the cycle of poverty to prevent homelessness and build better lives for themselves and their children.

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?

Supportive Housing Program

Home of the Sparrow provides housing solutions and supportive services to women and children who are facing or experiencing homelessness. Our goal is to address the critical barriers to long-term self-sufficiency and create transformational change in the lives of the women and children we serve. We know that housing instability and poverty are interdependent and that stable housing can hardly be achieved while living in poverty. Therefore, we employ a holistic strategy based on supportive housing services, educational opportunities as well as increasing access to physical and mental health supports to create lasting, generational impact in our community.

When participants enter the program, our Program Coordinators conduct thorough assessments of their needs and history, including physical and emotional health, history of abuse, education records and the need for necessities or school supplies. These assessments inform the stability plans for our participants and define the wrap-around services they need to regain economic and social stability. Based on their personal stability plans, women are provided with intensive coordinated services to:

* Build independent living skills, such as financial literacy
* Maintain current housing or finding more suitable housing to fit capacity and needs
* Better navigate systems to access critical benefits and resources—both community-based and government based
* Address mental and physical health issues—providing counseling, as well as increased access to providers who can address acute and chronic health issues
* Identify ways to increase their income and enhance their opportunities for jobs that pay living wages

Population(s) Served

Our Shared Housing Program is an innovative solution to affordable housing for women who are on limited incomes. This program matches homeowners who are willing to rent a room in their homes with women who are in need of affordable housing. Utilizing a rigorous matching process, we perform extensive interviews and background checks to ensure successful, safe home environments.

This program works as a homelessness prevention tool for both members of this partnership. Affordable, safe housing is difficult to come by for single women in many parts of Southeastern Pennsylvania. We help them find safe homes and good environments in which to live, as well as access to the same range of supportive services that we offer to all of our clients. This is a key aspect of this program as we have found that many clients in this demographic are unaware of the resources available to them based on their incomes. Sadly, we have also seen women who struggle to put food on their tables, or go without needed medications simply because they are ashamed to ask for help.

The Shared Housing Program also addresses a hidden crisis in our community – elderly women with little or no income and few resources are too often finding themselves on the brink of homelessness or with nowhere to live. Unfortunately, these women are often the forgotten population in this country. Single elderly women are often subject to heartbreakingly unique circumstances. They find themselves alone and on limited budgets with no way to supplement their incomes. Shared Housing helps the homeowners, as well as the home-seekers, remain independent and in safe, stable housing. In more than 75% of these cases, the homeowners we work with would be unable to keep their homes without this additional income.

Population(s) Served

Through Home of the Sparrow's Graduate Outreach Program we continue to assist women and children who have graduated from our programs by providing a network of support, ongoing access to local resources and essential communications from our staff This program is critical to the ongoing success of many of the families we work with. Although our clients work hard to learn the skills and knowledge they need to become self-sufficient, for many Home of the Sparrow is the first support system they have ever known. While each Graduate continues to be independent and self-sufficient, Home of the Sparrow remains ready to assist with any questions or issues that may arise in their lives.

Additionally, this initiative provides for educational and extracurricular opportunities for the children in the program who might otherwise have no access to these activities.

Population(s) Served

Our Pre-Senior Bridge Housing Program focuses on the transitional housing needs of women between the ages of 55 and 62. We help women gain access to essential programs and resources, including food cupboards, healthcare, social/learning sites and government-based benefits. Once they reach 62, we help them enroll in programs that afford them additional benefits, such as permanent housing solutions (most often senior subsidized). Our program offers a communal living facility in West Chester and an apartment living option in Coatesville.

Population(s) Served

Our Emergency Solutions Program offers financial and counseling support for families in danger of being evicted by working with landlords to resolve their debts. Facing eviction from your home is a frightening ordeal. We help women and families avoid eviction, and learn to pave their way to better futures through education, support and counseling.

Population(s) Served

In collaboration with Chester County Probation, Parole and Pretrial Services, the Women’s Reentry Assessment Programming Initiative provides support for justice-involved women. Home of the Sparrow partners with the Chester County Adult Probation, Parole and Pretrial Services Office to provide comprehensive case management services for these women to help facilitate smooth transition from incarceration and reduce their risk of recidivism or re-incarceration.

Population(s) Served

This initiative places strong emphasis on providing increased access to services designed to improve the lives of women and children in all aspects - school, mental and physical health and social wellbeing. Our Program Coordinators conduct thorough assessments of each participant’s needs and history, including physical and emotional health, history of abuse, education records and the need for clothing, food or school supplies. In addition to a thorough health assessment, we use the trauma informed ACE's scoring test which measures types of childhood trauma so we can better understand the issues a women is facing. These assessments inform the stability plans for participants and define the wrap-around services to be provided to help ensure their success.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member 2010

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 new donors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year

Number of overall donors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Context Notes

Estimated number of overall donors to Home of the Sparrow during the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Average number of dollars received per donor

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Context Notes

Estimated average number of dollars received by Home of the Sparrow per donor.

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.

Home of the Sparrow provides housing solutions and supportive services to women and children who are facing or experiencing homelessness. Our goal is to address the critical barriers to long-term self-sufficiency and create transformational change in the lives of the women and children we serve. We know that housing instability and poverty are interdependent and that stable housing can hardly be achieved while living in poverty. Therefore, we employ a holistic strategy based on supportive housing services, educational opportunities and counseling, as well as physical and mental health support to create lasting, generational impact in our community.

Studies show that supportive housing resolves homelessness, increases housing stability, improves health and lowers public costs by reducing the use of publicly-funded crisis services, including shelters, hospitals, psychiatric centers and jails. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states that rental subsidies, especially when combined with case management, sharply reduce housing instability and can improve a family's health and their children's chances of long-term success. Home of the Sparrow's Supportive Housing Program is a key homelessness prevention tool that utilizes time-limited housing subsidies combined with client-centered, trauma-informed wrap-around services. This program is designed to ensure that women and children never experience the fear and trauma of homelessness – now and in the future.

Based on 23 years of experience we know that a stable home and education are not achieved separately. Safe housing is a prerequisite to pursue education as much as education is necessary to afford a safe and stable home. The Supportive Housing Program makes critical resources available that allow participants to gain financial stability and pursue educational opportunities without the fear of losing their homes. While in the program, participants receive a monthly rental subsidy and they meet with a program coordinator for bi-weekly intensive case management sessions. At the beginning of every participant's tenure in the 3-12-month program, we assess their strengths, needs and goals and together we outline the steps necessary to become stable, financially independent and self-sufficient now and in the future.

Following the initial assessment, every participant receives one-on-one intensive financial literacy training, leading to improved budgeting skills and savings. Paired with on-going life-skills training, and parenting support, participants acquire the skills and tools necessary to break the cycle of poverty and to achieve long-term stability. Depending on each woman's needs and goals, we provide guidance and support in their professional advancement and education, including college counseling, job coaching and life skills training. Through our partnerships with local companies and hospitals, we are furthermore able to facilitate employment opportunities for our program participants.

Because we place a strong focus on education, job skills training and financial literacy, we know that we are supporting women in making life-changing decisions and empowering them to take control of their lives and futures.

Since 1994, Home of the Sparrow has been a pioneer in homelessness prevention in the community, creating systems and practices that have helped to create the policies that are addressing this crisis. As one of the first agencies in the region to call attention to the critical need for education, job training and comprehensive and coordinated supportive services, Home of the Sparrow is a proven leader in developing innovative solutions to this issue.

During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, our programs directly served 507 women and children seeking to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty - a 15% increase in client volume over the previous year. During Fiscal Year 2017 our signature programs

• Pre-Senior Bridge Housing
• Supportive Housing
• Shared Housing
• Emergency Solutions
• Graduate Outreach
• Health and Adverse Childhood Experiences Assessment
• Women's Re-Entry Assessment Program (WRAP) for justice-involved women

served the housing, financial and education/employment needs of 549 women and children - an 8% increase over our client volume for last year, including:

• 36 Women representing 18 matches participated in Shared Housing
• 249 women and children continue to benefit from Graduate Outreach (100 women and 149 children)
• 10 women are lived in our Pre-Senior Facilities in West Chester (4) and Coatesville (6)
• 122 women and children participated in various counseling and other aspects of our Supportive Housing and Education Programs (10 also received Emergency Solutions)
• 61 women are supported through WRAP to ensure a smooth re-entry into society
• 81 women and children avoided eviction or loss of utilities through our Emergency Solutions and rental subsidy program.

Financials

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

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PENNSYLVANIA HOME OF THE SPARROW

Board of directors
as of 08/23/2018
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Barbara Dougherty

La Salle University


Board co-chair

Lisa Mitchell

Burlington Coat Factory

Nancy McLelland

No Affliliation

Jean Wyeth Bell

No affiliation

Wayne Buckwalter

Cohan Seglias Pallas Greenhill & Furman PC

Elizabeth Stull

No affiliation

Lucas Virnig

NFLSHOP.COM

Elizabeth Moran

No affiliation

Lisa Mitchell

Burlington Coat Factory

Valeri Boclair

Vanguard

Janet Zeis

Chester County

Charlotte Bartlett

No affiliation

Lisa Schiel

No affiliation

Elise Mihranian

TE CONNECTIVITY

Tobey Chadsey

Mark Delowery

Stacey Sempier

Deborah Pierce

Integrity Staffing Solutions

Karen DiVincenzo

The Arc of Chester County

JoEllen Jordan

Pfizer

Frank McKee

The McKee Group

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? Not applicable