ForKids: Fighting Poverty and Homelessness

“Break the cycle of family homelessness.” This is the motto ForKids; a non-profit founded by concerned residents in the Norfolk, Virginia over two decades ago. The organization not only provides adequate shelter, counseling and education, they also provide hope to families in crises.

Break the cycle of family homelessness.” This is ForKids' anthem; a non-profit founded by concerned residents in the Norfolk, Virginia over two decades ago. The organization not only provides adequate shelter, counseling and education, they provide hope. Beliefnet connected with Chief Development Officer Bill Young, who joined ForKids in 2009. Young shared that his team works to create stability using a “multi-pronged approach” that helps people rebuild their lives.

How does ForKids fight poverty and homelessness in the community?

ForKids takes a multi-pronged approach to address the multitude of complications caused by homelessness and poverty. To address immediate needs ForKids provides housing and a roof over our families’ heads. Further ForKids provides educational services for both children and adults to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Finally, ForKids provides the necessary mental health counseling, medical case management, financial literacy classes and other services necessary to stabilize our families in the community.

ForKids has been operating the charity for over 20 years. What has been the key to the charity’s success?

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ForKids’ success has been its relentless commitment to mission coupled with constant innovation in the way we go about meeting that mission. This combination has allowed ForKids to be both efficient and effective and has drawn supporters from across the community to provide support in the form of time, talents and treasure.

There are three main components in helping a family become more economically stabilized, [such as] housing, education, and clinical services. Why are all three of these necessary to help families become more self-sufficient in the market place?

ForKids’ mission is to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty for families and children. The data shows that education is the key to making that happen but to succeed in educational outcomes a child needs a stable home environment. That’s where housing and clinical services come in. Without stable housing, a child will never succeed in school as they are bouncing from place to place and school to school, falling further and further behind. In the same way, an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness will derail any efforts for a family to stabilize. While success in education is the key to what we do, the only way that we can achieve that success is to make sure that housing and clinical needs are addressed for our families.

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Corine Gatti
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