Giving Back: Faithworks
● By Claudia Mosby
Providing More Than Just Transitional HousingApril 2015
By Claudia Mosby
Derrick Brose and Ana Stinebaugh have two very important things in common: they love their children and today neither of them is homeless, thanks to FaithWorks, a Redding-based nonprofit that has provided transitional housing for families with children since 2006.
“The difference between our housing and other types in Shasta County is that we provide for the whole family,” says Monique Taylor, FaithWorks Executive Director. “The two qualifications are homelessness and children.”
The maximum two-year program offers far more than lodging. Stringent rules predict success. “Residents have curfews and must sign in and out,” says Taylor. “We hold weekly house inspections and families have weekly chores within their complex.”
No overnight visitors, mandatory class attendance and a requirement to pursue education or employment daily reveals FaithWorks is not for the uncommitted. Brose, who fought hard to gain custody of his son after getting clean, knew he had limited time and welcomed the discipline and accountability.
“Infants in the foster program are on a fast track because people want to adopt babies,” says Brose, whose former partner, still a practicing addict, had attempted to adopt out their son.
“FaithWorks is an essential stepping stone for any family trying to reunify with their children,” he says. “It teaches you how to pay your bills and raise your children in a safe environment. You should not have people hanging around or staying overnight. All the rules are good.”
Families pay 30 percent of their income for rent and $75 into a mandatory monthly savings account, which Taylor says gives residents a chunk of money to use for a deposit on permanent housing when they leave. Additionally, the agency is funded through HUD and City of Redding grants.
Residents meet weekly with Taylor or the other full-time case manager to set short- and long-term goals, obtain credit reports and make payment arrangements for debt still owed, as well as receive assistance with appointments and medication management.
Brose volunteers 20 hours a week at Shasta Senior Nutrition to earn his CalWORKs benefit while looking for employment and admits being a single dad has been a struggle. The payoff is evident.
As a result of guidance from FaithWorks and the support of family and church, Brose was released from probation, got his driver’s license back and fines paid. Most importantly, he was awarded full custody of his son. “The judge said I was only the fourth dad she had seen get his child back in the 13 years she had been in family court,” he says.
The organization offers two types of accommodations for families. The Francis Court I & II complexes house 16 families, and construction of a Francis Court III complex is also planned, which will house an additional eight families.
It also operates Cornelius House, which lodges 10 single veterans in double- and triple-occupancy apartments.
Ana Stinebaugh and her husband Dan are atypical FaithWorks clients. “We were not addicted to drugs or alcohol,” says Ana. “We were homeless and staying in our van, getting the kids ready for school at the rest stop.”
They had tried a sex-segregated shelter, but Stinebaugh says, “We didn’t want that. We wanted to stay together as a family. The kids did not feel comfortable.”
A staff member at the elementary school where they had gone to enroll their three children (ages 5, 6 and 8 at the time), referred the family to FaithWorks, where they were fortunate to get an open apartment. Wait time can run upwards of nine months.
Stinebaugh’s family graduated from the program six years ago. “They went full steam ahead,” Taylor recalls. “They attended all the classes (sometimes we get resistance). They were good parents, the type of family that wanted all that was possible for them.”
Today, Stinebaugh and her husband both have jobs, cars and their own apartment. The kids, now 11, 12 and 14, are doing well in school and athletics. “It has all worked out,” she says. “I feel blessed that they gave us a chance.”
Local churches furnish the apartments with home essentials and offer onsite activities for interested residents. While the program is faith-based, Taylor emphasizes that residents do not have to be Christian to participate.
“Our ultimate goal is for our families to obtain and maintain permanent housing,” she says. “It is not about them graduating our program; it is about them being successful throughout their lives, not just here.”
(530) 242-1121 • www.faith-works.cc