MAKING AN IMPACT…Student success starts with stability at home

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Stable housing has a profound impact on a child’s life. Without it, children are exposed to conditions that threaten their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. With hundreds of Vancouver families struggling to find and keep stable housing due to job loss, illness, or family crisis, the Foundation for VPS created the Housing Stability Fund, which provides families with one-time rental assistance.

“I first heard about the Housing Stability Fund through the Family-Community Resource Center at my daughter’s school,” said Leigh, a parent of a VPS elementary student. “Without the assistance, I would have been homeless and my daughter would have been placed in foster care.”

Just one of the hundreds of families who have been helped through the Foundation for VPS fund, Leigh found herself in need of housing for herself and her young daughter after escaping an abusive relationship.

“My life has gotten so much better since I got this apartment. I can actually sleep at night now,” she said. “I was in that relationship for nearly 10 years and for 7 of that, I wasn’t able to sleep.”

Leigh shares the impact stable housing has had for her daughter. “My daughter isn’t afraid anymore. She can focus on her school. She’s not crying all the time because she has a place she can feel safe; a place she can call home.”

Last year, the Foundation for VPS’ Housing Stability Fund provided almost $40,000 in funds to assist 317 children from 150 VPS families. Out of the District’s 37 schools, 30 schools had students assisted through the fund. Council for the Homeless (CFTH) administers the Housing Stability Fund on behalf of the Foundation for VPS. VPS Family-Community Resource Coordinators refer eligible VPS students and families to CFTH to access this one-time, emergency housing financial bridge. This timely and targeted assistance from the Foundation helps keep students and families from being evicted and potentially experiencing homelessness. On average, the cost to help stabilize a VPS family is less than $300.

Community partners including Vancouver Rotary Foundation, Community Foundation for Southwest Washington, and Cascades Presbyterian Church helped support the fund through donations and grants. “It’s because of funding from the Foundation for VPS and their donors that the help is there for people like me,” says Leigh. “It’s important to support this program because it gets families off the streets and into safe environments.”

Thanks to the Housing Stability Fund offered by the Foundation for VPS, safe and consistent housing is within reach for those in need. “You have no idea how appreciative I am,” said Leigh. “It really does change lives.”