Q. What is Providence House?
Providence House is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization committed to strengthening family life and dignity through self-sufficiency. We are not supported with government funding but rely on the generosity of local individuals, faith communities, civic-minded groups, clubs, organizations, and our local business community for financial assistance. We also pursue and welcome support from both private and corporate grant sources. Our federal tax identification number is 20-3889831.
Q. What role does Providence House fulfill in the community?
Nancy Farren, Founder of Providence House, had the foresight eleven years ago to recognize that transitional housing was a true need in Collier County. When a homeless person has a safe place to stay with their child, they can then begin to focus on working on themselves to improve their education and work skills in order to achieve independence. Providence House fulfills a great and growing need in our community. According to the Hunger & Homeless Coalition’s 2018 Point-in-Time Homeless count in Collier County, 653 people were homeless on the night of January 25, 2018. A temporary answer is a homeless shelter. A more promising answer is a transitional housing program that provides a safe and welcoming place.
Q. Naples is an affluent city. Is homelessness really a problem for families living there?
In Collier County 1 out of every 4 households either lives in poverty or is one emergency away from falling into poverty. (Source: United Way of Collier County, 2016)
Single women with young children represent the fastest growing segment of the homeless population nationally, and according to the Hunger and Homelessness Coalition’s 2018 Point-in-Time Homeless count in Collier County, the number of homeless students accounted for in the public schools is 1215. Many of these families live in our local shelters while others live doubled up in the home of friends. Top reasons families experience homelessness include:
Employment – loss of a job; underemployment due to lack of education and skills and/or low wages
Housing – lack of suitable and affordable housing
Family Problems – fractured relationships, domestic violence, poverty, lack of support
Q. What is Transitional Housing?
Transitional housing dates back to the early ‘70s as a cost-efficient way to enable people leaving treatment or correctional facilities to successfully transition into self-sufficiency and back into the community. Today, transitional housing has become a viable option for helping people overcome all kinds of obstacles to independent living. For our clients the obstacles are often a combination of inadequate education, skills, childcare, transportation, and the lack of a supportive network. Long-term transitional housing gives Providence House women the time necessary to build assets to lead them to a life of self-sufficiency for themselves and their child.
Q. What are your eligibility requirements?
Providence House is not right for everyone. Lifestyle change takes commitment and hard work. Some women have problems that will make it difficult for them to succeed in our program or that exceed the resources and parameters of our program. Applicants must demonstrate the desire and motivation to benefit from and make the greatest use of all services offered. Additionally, an applicant:
Must be at least 18 years old.
Must have legal custody of her children who currently live with her.
Must have the ability to pay a monthly case management fee and be able to document her sources of income.
Must understand that Providence House is a self-sufficiency program that includes transitional housing in its array of services. It is not a shelter nor do we offer emergency housing.
Every applicant must have employment or a combination of employment and education.
Q. How many families can Providence House serve?
Our beautiful campus currently offers eight apartment homes for mothers with custody of one to four children age 10 and under. Individual apartment homes allow families to function with a reasonable degree of privacy and independence while rebuilding their lives. Additionally, smaller programs have the advantage of facilitating a close-knit community of support—a crucial factor in sustaining a family’s commitment to work toward self-sufficiency.
Q. How long are families allowed to stay?
Women who qualify have up to two years to accomplish her goals for self-sufficiency. We emphasize personal responsibility and accountability. Making progress toward goals established for improved well-being and independence takes time, determination, and hard work.
Q. How does Providence House make a difference?
When a woman comes to Providence House, often, her dreams are neglected and her sense of purpose understated. Our program teaches her that it takes prudence to make right decisions, courage to stay the course; self-control to restrain passions; and the ability to challenge others and ourselves.
She leaves Providence House more mature in her emotions, behavior, and judgment…the fruit of which is self-confidence and responsibility, inner peace, and stability. We foster personal transformation through an accountability program rooted in effective compassion.
The program provides each participating family with the following:
a fully furnished apartment home, situated on our safe and attractive campus (complete with small and major appliances for laundry, cookware, dishware, bake ware, utensils and cutlery, and linens
strategic goal planning and guidance through Case Management
opportunities for personal growth through Life Skill classes
referrals to local providers within our Continuum of Care (counseling, career prep, etc.) and a supportive community of like-minded moms
We also require budgeting, debt reduction, and personal accountability. We encourage the development of marketable skills through vocational training and career preparation, which position clients to compete for better paying jobs with benefits and establish long-term financial independence for their families.
Graduates of the program are gifted with everything in their apartment home for use in setting up their new home. Providence House provides the maintenance and upkeep of the units in much the same way many commercial properties do in the larger community with the help of volunteers committed to our mission.