Community Partners strives to help low-income families, living in Montgomery County’s subsidized housing, to improve their quality of life, equip them to reach a higher level of self-sufficiency and to provide them the resources needed to break out of the cycle of poverty.
Recognizing that low-income residents living in subsidized housing under the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) were experiencing a variety of unmet social service needs, leaders from HOC and the general community teamed together in 1999 to form Community Partners, in order to create programs to help families with children, seniors and people with disabilities living in subsidized housing improve their quality of life.
Collaborating with HOC and thanks to competitive grant funding, Community Partners, Inc. has helped over the last 7 years, 275 homeless families obtain permanent housing; 200 low-income working families purchased refurbished vehicles propelling them to greater self-sufficiency over the last 10 years; 400 adults increased their job skills over the last 6 years; 17 youth aging out of the foster care system transitioned to independent living; we have empowered 30 low-income families to open an individual development accounts to pursue homeownership, small business creation and education; hundreds of families with children benefitted from in-kind donations (worth more than $925,000) such as furniture, clothing, bedding, computers; and thousands of at-risk youth over the last 10 years have received Back-to-School supplies at the start of the school year.
This Year’s Goals
Community Partners, Inc. in collaboration with HOC now brings STEM robotics activities to low-income youth living at subsidized housing communities. Students, grades 3rd through 8th, attend two-hour sessions twice a week during after school hours. These activities are conducted by Uplift DC, Inc., a local non-profit which exclusively teaches core STEM concepts and activities to at-risk, STEM deprived students in the National Capital Region.
Kids’ STEM participants design and program LEGO MINDSTORMS robots that follow programmed commands along a special obstacle course. Each participant utilizes a LEGO MINDSTORMS set, containing all the LEGO elements and software needed to construct and program a robot.
Our other programs include:
Housing Counseling Plus Program which provides assistance to 50 homeless families with meeting their move in costs, thereby obtaining stable permanent housing and to 30 formerly chronic homeless individuals with maintaining their housing during the first 12-24 months of housing stabilization.
The Driving Toward Success program helps low-income working families obtain reconditioned used vehicles at a nominal cost, which, greatly expands their employment and educational options;
The Career Building Blocks program helps low-income residents in subsidized housing to improve their skills to pursue educational/vocational training and gainful employment;
The Supportive Youth Housing Program, presently empowering seven youth aging out of the foster care system to live independent, productive lives in the community;
The Saving for a Better Tomorrow IDA program, a financial literacy and assets building program that equips 30 low-income households to pursue homeownership opportunities, to create small businesses and to increase their post-secondary education. A new cohort of 10 savers will begin soon.
Community Partners is administered by the volunteer Board of Directors. Each director serves for a 3-year term and may volunteer for additional terms. The board meets quarterly.
The HOC Senior Staff Liaison manages the day to day functions. Community Partners has no employees or staff. And so, the Senior Staff Liaison oversees the grant funded programs and partnerships in the community. The Senior Staff Liaison plays a key role in the success of Community Partners. In communicating to the Board on the needs of HOC residents, she ensures that our programs are well designed and precisely targeted to those who need the services the most.
Likewise, she supervises the contractors who implement specific services of our programming and many of the HOC staff offering in-kind staff support of particular grant funded projects. Furthermore, as the primary contact, she communicates with our funders and submits timely reports on the outcomes of our grant funded programs.
Community Partners coordinates the programs exclusively for low-income residents in Montgomery County in order to strengthen their household stability and family self sufficiency so that they can eventually break out of the cycle of poverty. In 2012: our Housing Counseling Plus Program helped 40 homeless families (over 115 adults and children) to obtain stable, permanent housing; our Driving Toward Success program helped 10 low-income working families to purchase refurbished vehicles propelling them to greater self-sufficiency; our Career Building Blocks program helped more than 140 adults to receive job search, life and soft skills training, propelling them to secure employment; and 1,000 low-income, youth received Back-to-School supplies at the start of the school year.
In 2012 we started two new programs. Partnering with the local child welfare service, we inaugurated the Supportive Youth Housing Program thanks to a large grant from the Freddie Mac Foundation, empowering up to 10 youth aging out of the foster care system to live independent, productive lives in the community. Also, last September we successfully launched the Saving for a Better Tomorrow IDA program, a financial literacy and assets building program that equips 20 low-income households to pursue homeownership opportunities, to create small businesses and to increase their post-secondary education.