Families Forward

There's no place like home

Irvine, CA   |  www.families-forward.org

Mission

Families Forward exists to help families in need achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through housing, food, counseling, education, and other support services.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. Last year, Families Forward served over 10,000 children and adults through our housing program and homeless prevention services. Volunteers and in-kind donations of food and household items are an integral part of our service delivery. Volunteers ‘staff’ our food pantry, front desk, and phone referral services. Funding is provided by individuals, families, corporations, foundations and government agencies. The goal of Families Forward is to help homeless families, or families at risk of homelessness, with a 'hand up', allowing them to reach self-sufficiency. 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, for the 10th consecutive year, we have earned Charity Navigator's top 4 Star rating, 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, 90% 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.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Data collected by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition in 2019 indicates that Orange County needs approximately 112,996 more affordable housing units to keep up with the growing problem of cost of living increases and stagnant wages for low-income families. Researchers also estimate that a single parent must earn approximately $27.62 per hour or work 105 hours a week at minimum wage to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Orange County. Families Forward receives nearly 2,000 requests for assistance every year. Approximately 58% of these calls are from families at risk of homelessness and 42% are from families who are already sleeping in cars, storage units, and other spaces not meant for human habitation. Our hope is to ensure that these families avoid and overcome the reality of homelessness as they increase their earning potential and progress towards market-rate housing.

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 is a decentralized, service-enriched program that supports families to become stable and self-sufficient. Homeless families are placed into a partner rental unit or one of our owned units in Orange County. Situating families separately ensures client confidentiality, helping them connect with their neighborhood and integrate into the community. Effort is made to place families in their preferred communities and school districts so that children’s lives are disrupted as little as possible. Families budget and pay a portion of their income towards rent as a way to establish fiscal responsibility. After addressing the immediate need of housing, families work with Case Managers to create individualized plans to 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 tools to make permanent changes so that future incidences of homelessness can be prevented.

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

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

Context Notes

The Community Counseling program has seen this number of unduplicated individuals in a fiscal year. The actual number of sessions, is higher depending on the individual.

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

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

This year, during the pandemic, we modified our food pantry to provide ingredients for meals to more than 12,000 Orange County residents in need.

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.

We expect to achieve the following quantifiable outcomes):
1. 250 homeless Orange County families with minor age children (approximately 750 individuals) receive housing assistance
2. 85% of those served secure and maintain stable housing after program completion
3. 75% of parents increase/maintain their annual income to maintain stability for their children

Families Forward's Housing Program assists families in achieving self-sufficiency and housing stability with the aim of ending family homelessness in Orange County by 2020.

While our comprehensive Housing Program enables us to respond to the reality of family homelessness in Orange County, Families Forward acknowledges that any long-term solution to homelessness must include an increase in the overall supply of permanent affordable housing. Families Forward currently owns or has formalized access to 56 affordable unites with that number expected to double by 2022. This will assist Families Forward in achieving its goal of preventing and ending family homelessness in Orange County.

The Housing Program provides housing and supportive services to homeless Orange County families with dependent children. Families Forward participates in the Orange County Continuum of Care (CoC), a public-nonprofit partnership that helps ensure the comprehensive, regional coordination of efforts and resources to reduce the number of individuals who are currently homeless and at risk of becoming homelessness.
Families Forward's Housing Intake Coordinator works through the CoC to assess a family's degree of vulnerability. Those who qualify are enrolled in the county-wide Coordinated Entry System, prioritized according to need, and reassigned to various housing agencies within Orange County.
Families Forward serves approximately 17-19 families per month for a total of 230 families per year after assignment or match from the Coordinated Entry System. Each family receives a Case Manager who offers accountability around the creation of short and long-term goals, as well as a Housing Resource Specialist who assists with tenant education, housing navigation, and landlord advocacy. Those in need of emergency shelter receive up to one week of motel vouchers while Families Forward prepares an interim unit. Once in interim housing, the family works with their support team to locate a permanent housing solution and overcome key barriers, such as unemployment, eviction history, or poor credit.
The Housing Program is designed to assist families for a short period of time, averaging 4-6 months, as they regain independence and take steps towards stability. During this time, families have access to a wide range of supportive services offered at our Program Center in Irvine, including weekly food pantry visits, counseling, career coaching, school supplies in August, and gifts during the holidays. Those who rapidly rehouse into a permanent unit receive steadily decreasing rental assistance. After the family becomes economically self-sufficient, Case Managers check in with the family for up to one year to ensure housing stability.

Housing Program: Placing homeless children and families into stable housing. Families Forward works with homeless families to find realistic solutions for sustainable housing and build individualized plans to return each family to self-sufficiency. By stabilizing these families and giving them tools to build a future, we create a stronger community for all of us. A key factor for success is Families Forward's commitment to collaborate with many organizations to end family homelessness in Orange County, including Orange County United Way, the Commission to End Homelessness, the Children and Families Commission and many other partner agencies and foundations. Only together will we be able to end homelessness in Orange County. Visit the Housing Program page for more information.

Community Services: Providing supportive services to improve lives. Families Forward also reaches out to low-income families to help reduce the pressures that can cause homelessness and help them maintain their stability. Through various safety-net services, those at-risk are given access to assistance such as our on-site food pantry, counseling, career coaching, and financial and life skills education. The goal of the program is to help families recover from a financial crisis so they can maintain their self-sufficiency. Visit the services page for more information.

Families Forward expanded access to affordable and rapid rehousing in the county. During the grant term, we achieved:
Two new affordable units purchased – Families Forward accomplished our goal of purchasing not only one, but two additional affordable units in 2017. The board has also approved a plan to convert most of our transitional units into affordable beginning in 2018. This change will increase the total number of owned Families Forward affordable units from 13 to 27, enabling us to offer more long-term solutions for families transitioning from homelessness to affordable and eventually market-rate housing in Orange County.
Two new landlord/developer partnerships – Families Forward solidified two new partnerships that will lead to more available affordable housing units designated for homeless parents and children. The first partnership is with Chelsea Investment Corporation, a company planning the groundbreaking of a new apartment community in 2019 that will contain 10 units set aside for Extremely Low and Very Low Income (<50% AMI) homeless families. The second partnership is with National Community Renaissance (CORE), a leading affordable housing developer. National CORE plans to break ground on a new Lake Forest development in 2020 that will contain at least 10 designated units of affordable housing for income-qualifying homeless families. The completion of these will increase the organization's accessible to affordable housing through partnership to 34, providing significant progress towards Families Forward's 3-year goal of 20% growth in rapid rehousing and affordable housing partnerships.
Families Forward achieved 17% growth in the number of people served compared to last year, increasing from 9,851 individuals served to over 11,517. We also increased our overall success rate for long-term family stability. Every year, the county-wide Continuum of Care evaluates Families Forward and other continuum partners to determine agency efficiency in serving homeless individuals and families. The continuum determined that, of those who successfully exit homelessness in partnership with Families Forward, approximately 97% did not enter the homeless service provider system within one year. This is a 4% increase over our last year.
Over the course of the grant term, Families Forward launched its first formalized homeless Prevention and Diversion (P&D) Program. Now serving as a model for others in the county, the initiative employs a team of trained volunteers to return 100% of the calls Families Forward receives from families in a housing crisis. This team offers over-the-phone case management, referrals, and limited financial assistance designed to prevent families from entering homelessness. The P&D team served a total of 790 families during the grant term with 70 families (approximately 245 individuals) reporting that Families Forward's intervention enabled them to avoid homelessness altogether.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To inform our Strategic Plan for the future,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently,

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

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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

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 9/20/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Robert Davis

HNTB Corporation

Term: 2020 - 2022

Gary Cohn

Marx|Okubo

Mark Henigan

Irvine Company

Robert Davis

HNTB Corporation

Mark Harryman

Unire Real Estate Group

Trish Scarborough

Community Leader

David Snow

Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine

Bradley Comp

Ayco, A Goldman Sachs Company

Ryan Warne-McGaw

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Mark Engstrom

Deloitte & Touche LLP

Sherry Benjamins

S. Benjamins & Co.

Jon Radus

Fullerton Police Department

Alex Razo

Wells Fargo

Debbie Thomsen

Community Volunteer

Lorri Torres

Parcel Pending

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

Anna Mendoza

Tierra Development Advisors

Nicholas Meraz

Community Leader

Kitty Shen

Community Leader

Dr. Vinita Speir

Pacific Women's Healthcare Associates

Debbie Thomsen

Community Leader

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 09/20/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/29/2020

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 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 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.