FamilyAid Boston, Inc.

aka FamilyAid   |   Boston, MA   |  www.familyaidboston.org

Mission

FamilyAid empowers parents and caregivers facing homelessness to secure and sustain housing and build strong foundations for their children's futures.

Notes from the nonprofit

As both Massachusetts and Boston continue to experience the third highest rate of child and family homelessness in the nation, FamilyAid is proving that the best way to stop its continued rise is to prevent it. Our proven, successful “upstream” prevention programs contributed to a HUD-acknowledged 29% drop in homelessness in Boston in 2021. However, when child homelessness is inevitable , we will continue to reduce its trauma and make the homeless experience brief and non-recurring. Additionally, research shows that children experiencing homelessness have the highest Adverse Childhood Experiences and are 8 times more likely to become homeless adults without appropriate interventions. Through private support, we are now leading a city-wide initiative to improve services for homeless children with the goal to prevent it and reduce its traumatic impact.

Ruling year info

1953

Principal Officer

Mr. Lawrence Seamans

Main address

3815 Washington Street

Boston, MA 02130 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Travelers Aid Society of Boston

Travelers Aid Family Services

EIN

04-2105756

NTEE code info

Temporary Shelter For the Homeless (L41)

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Public Housing (L21)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Family homelessness is a growing crisis in Greater Boston. A recent study reveals that Boston is the 3rd most expensive city in the nation and has the highest cost of childcare in the country. In the last year alone, these challenges have caused Massachusetts to see, the largest growth in family homelessness in the country – a dramatic 17% increase. The City of Boston now has the third-highest number of families with children experiencing homelessness – 3,653 -on any given night. That includes 2,191 children – enough to fill 5 Boston Children’s Hospitals. Even more astounding is a year-long study by Boston Public Schools that identified more than 4,000 homeless students and there are hundreds more living in unsafe and/or unstable housing situations or are currently housed but are only a missed paycheck away from eviction.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Homelessness Prevention

Children and their parents are being forced into homelessness because of medical emergencies, a lost job, or the ever increasing cost of rent.

FamilyAid Boston’s Homelessness Prevention Program provides one-time emergency financial assistance to keep children and their parents in their homes. On average, $1,500 is all that is needed to keep a family in their homes and avoid the childhood trauma associated with homelessness. In comparison, the average cost for a family to live in shelter for one year is $36,000.

This means for the cost of housing one family in shelter, we can help nearly 100 children and parents avoid homelessness.

Additionally, FamilyAid Boston is now working with the Boston Public School System in order to provide early intervention supports for children and their families who are at potential risk of becoming homeless at an even earlier stage. This helps to prevent the crisis before it happens.

Families provided with early intervention and emergency assistance work with a team of compassionate professionals on budgeting, obtaining stable jobs, and connecting their children with the resources they need to thrive.

Our Homelessness Prevention Program is among the most successful in the country with 90% of the families who receive assistance from FamilyAid Boston remaining in stable housing one year after leaving shelter.

Population(s) Served
Families
Homeless people

The children and parents that walk through our doors are faced with one of the scariest situations any family can image: they no longer have a place to call home. Our Emergency Shelter Program provides children and parents with safe shelter and the support services they need to return to a home of their own.

Our emergency shelters are located within the neighborhoods our families are from, allowing them to access the jobs, schools, and resources they need to succeed within their own community.

Throughout their time in shelter parents work with FamilyAid Boston team members to identify the issues that led them to become homeless and address the barriers they face in returning to stable housing. Our team members also work with parents to find resources for their children from daycare to summer camps to primary care doctors.

Population(s) Served
Families
Homeless people

Our services don’t stop when a family leaves shelter and returns to stable housing. In fact, the first year back in permanent housing is the most vulnerable time for children and parents who have experienced homelessness.

FamilyAid Boston provides the support services necessary to create a bridge from shelter to housing. Working alongside a FamilyAid Boston team member, parents pursue further education, complete job trainings, receive help with interview skills and job placements, create a family budget, and are connected to child enrichment services in their community. Most importantly, they work with their care team to build upon the skills they developed while in shelter to reach financial independence.

By setting parents up with a plan for long-term success, we ensure that families are able to stay in their homes and that parents have more time to spend with their kids and spend less time worrying about where they’ll stay tomorrow.

Population(s) Served
Families
Homeless people

GO BACK TO OUR WORK
Recent studies have revealed that when a child experiences homelessness it negatively impacts their development, health, and education for years to come. The earlier and longer that a child experiences homelessness, the greater the impact.

FamilyAid Boston is expanding our child services. Recent studies have proven that the #1 indicator of becoming homeless as an adult is experiencing homelessness as a child. Through our child services, we want to end this cycle by addressing the effects homelessness has on children head-on.

In order to address these effects, we have partnered with a number of expert organizations to pilot new programs.

Through a partnership with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, we are launching an early childhood development assessment program in our shelters. This pilot is the first time a program of this type will be implemented in an emergency shelter setting. Through these assessments, parents work with their FamilyAid Boston team to get their young children enrolled in supportive community services that allow them to learn and grow alongside their peers.

Working alongside Boston Children’s Hospital and the Commonwealth’s Department of Children and Families, FamilyAid Boston has developed one of the most comprehensive child safety policies in Massachusetts. This policy ensures that the safety of children in our shelters will always be our top priority.

FamilyAid Boston is now working on an innovative new program with Boston Public Schools and the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development. This program addresses the more than 900 students on the brink of homelessness in Boston Public Schools. The program works alongside teachers to catch a student before they fall into homelessness and stabilize their housing, ultimately increasing their school attendance.

Population(s) Served
Families
Homeless people

Homeless children and parents are often denied state-funded shelter beds because there is literally no room available. As a result, families often resort to boarding in emergency rooms, their cars, or other places unfit for human habitation.

In 2020, with support from Jeffrey Bezos’ Day 1 Families Fund, FamilyAid will pilot an innovative program to divert such families from the streets and ERs, and to alternative housing resources.

Focused on engaging homeless families in identifying possible housing solutions based on their resources and strengths, the pilot will help families move past the immediate barrier they face in obtaining safe housing. Such barriers may include help with transportation to work, resolving a lingering landlord dispute, and supporting a family with their move to a new home or community.

Diversion programs have been an effective way to help more than 50% of homeless families find a safe, and permanent alternative to emergency shelter.

Population(s) Served
Families
Homeless people

Where we work

Accreditations

Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development - Shelter Program Evaluation 2021

Awards

Phyllis Yale Impact Award 2021

Cradles to Crayons

Affiliations & memberships

Associated Grant Makers 2000

United Way Member Agency 1920

National Association of Social Workers 2000

Ascend Network 2020

Providers Council 2020

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Educational Steering Committee 2018

Homes for Families 1997

City of Boston, Special Commission to End Fmaily Homelessness 2022

Common Start Coaltion 2021

Right to Counsel Coalition 2021

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Average number of service recipients per month

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Number of people no longer living in unsafe or substandard housing as a result of the nonprofit's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Multiracial people, People of African descent, Families of origin, Low-income people, Unemployed people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of people no longer living in unaffordable, overcrowded housing as a result of the nonprofit's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Families, Low-income people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of homeless participants engaged in housing services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Families, Low-income people, Homeless people

Related Program

Housing Supports

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Number of households that obtain/retain permanent housing for at least 6 months

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Families, Low-income people, Working poor

Related Program

Homelessness Diversion

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of low-income families housed in affordable, well-maintained units as a result of the nonprofit's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Families, Low-income people, Working poor

Related Program

Homelessness Diversion

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of direct care staff who received training in trauma informed care

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Multiracial people, People of African descent, People of European descent, People of Latin American descent, People of Asian descent

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of children served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families, People with disabilities, Low-income people, Homeless people, Multiracial people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Pounds of produce distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Families, Homeless people, Low-income people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Average length of stay (in days)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Multiracial people, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Families of origin

Related Program

Emergency Shelter

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

1) To prevent as many children and their parents as possible from becoming homeless in the Greater Boston Area. In pursuit of this goal, FAB is expanding the reach of its existing homelessness prevention program to provide 100 additional families, for a total of 300 served, through a new cross-sector partnership with the Boston Public School System, the City of Boston, and local hospitals. Families at imminent risk of homelessness will receive crisis intervention, rapid-response early interventions- flexible funding, targeted referrals, and ongoing supportive services - before they enter the summary eviction process. This program will enable families to maintain their housing and will mitigate the effects homelessness has on children.

2) To provide more families residing in our shelters in the Greater Boston area with permanent housing solutions. In pursuit of this goal, FAB is working with city, state, and other human service organizations to increase the availability of low-income housing.

3) To assure those families placed in permanent housing by FAB, or otherwise supported through FAB’s programs, provide consistency for their children, sustain their housing situation, and not relapse into homelessness. Families who receive case management from FAB's expert staff and are placed in stable housing will receive all the support they need to ensure at least a 90% housing retention rate for more than a year.

4) To better meet the needs of children who are traumatized by housing instability in the Greater Boston Area, assuring that they have adequate mental, physical, and emotional health support services. FAB will further train its expert staff, and hire additional staff members, to provide the children in its program with trauma-informed care, increase each child's access to health-based community organizations, and deepen our relationship with hospitals and MassHealth – providing access to PCPs, mental health professionals, and more.

5) To deepen relationships with partner agencies, advocacy groups, and city and state officials to better understand the causes of family homelessness and more effective methods to prevent loss of housing.

Once families become homeless, their average stay in shelter is close to one year, costing taxpayers nearly $40,000 per family. Due to displacement from their established resources, families in shelter also pay more for necessities like food, transportation, and childcare. When families are forced to move, the expense of up-front rent and moving costs can run well over $5,000. Furthermore, housing instability and homelessness takes a psychological toll on families.

For 90% of families who enter shelter, homelessness could be avoided with approximately $1,500 in emergency funding and wraparound services. This is exactly why FAB has become Boston’s largest provider of private homelessness prevention resources, delivering crisis intervention, emergency funds, and ongoing support services to families. To expand its homelessness prevention program, to serve more families in Boston, FAB has created an innovative pilot program in cooperation with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the City of Boston. We approached both entities proactively based on the aforementioned research, to ultimately reach and serve 900 children before their families losing their housing.

The pilot, titled the Early Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (EHIP), will provide 100 school-age children and their families with “upstream,” pre-eviction interventions including: rapid-response early interventions- flexible funding, targeted referrals, and ongoing supportive services - before families enter the summary eviction process in order to keep families in their homes and mitigate the effects of homelessness on children. Referrals for the pilot will come directly from the homeless liaisons at BPS, who have the ability to identify children on the verge of homeless as quickly as possible and refer them to FAB’s expert care team, who will deliver the services that they need to avoid an eviction.

Along with launching the EHIP pilot, FAB will continue to provide families with crisis intervention, emergency funds, and case management support to stabilize their housing and begin to work towards long-term stability.

FamilyAid Boston ensures the sustainability of our agency and programs by investing in high-quality, experienced, and dedicated staff and cultivating a variety of partnerships and revenue streams.

In order to maintain high-quality staff, we provide an environment that is supportive to staff and conducive to professional growth. We have a strong supervisory structure, including licensed social workers who provide required supervision hours to those pursuing licensures. We also maintain strong partnerships with several master’s in social work programs, connecting us with high-quality interns to support our staff as well as a pipeline for new talent. Our management team supports a robust training program and professional development opportunities for staff in all departments.

We maintain strong relationships with our government partners, collaborating on both existing programs and new opportunities. These relationships also allow FamilyAid Boston to play a prominent role in government and policy discussions that directly affect our agency, programs, and the families we serve.

Over the past five years, we have engaged in a concerted effort to grow and diversify private fundraising. Unrestricted funds from individuals, foundations and corporations, and events provide us the flexibility to innovate programs to best meet the needs of our client population and to ensure that we do not rely too heavily on any single funding source to sustain these programs. As a result of these efforts, we have more than doubled private fundraising since 2014 and we are continuing to grow our efforts in this area.

Lastly, FamilyAid Boston is a legacy organization, with a board who has been committed to helping support the poorest families in Boston for more than 100 years. The board includes members whose parents were board members in the past. Their commitment ensures above all else, the sustainability of the organization.

FamilyAid Boston provides 1,600 children and parents with emergency shelter, homelessness prevention, and housing supports along with individualized case management, designed to address the root cause of family’s crisis each year, while also creating long-term housing stability and positive outcomes for children. Highlights of the agencies accomplishments include:
• 687 children and parents received emergency shelter and support services.
• 617 children and parents retained their housing through our prevention and stabilization efforts
• 725 children and parents received housing stabilization support services.

With a committed Board of Directors; an accomplished and visionary new President and senior management team; and a dedicated, expert staff, FamilyAid Boston worked strategically over the past year to assess needs and opportunities in our community. As a result, FAB has significantly deepened its services for children, established and renewed key relationships with public officials, local schools, and partner agencies.

Over the past year, FamilyAid Boston assessed the state of homelessness in Massachusetts and worked to develop new strategies to stem homelessness at its root. Through an external and internal research analysis FamilyAid Boston concluded that the most cost-effective and humane solution to ending the child homelessness crisis is to stop homelessness before it even starts. In pursuit of this strategy, FAB has developed a new project and partnership with the Boston Public School System and the City of Boston, which will result in a major expansion of our prevention work in the years to come.

FamilyAid Boston is now the largest provider of private, flexible, rapid homelessness prevention funding and direct services in Boston, providing more than $300,000 in financial assistance along with support services to more than 600 children and their parents each year. Its Homelessness Prevention program has a 90% housing retention rate after 12 months, tracking well above the national average of 75%.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Homeless and low-income children and families.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    FamilyAid has made four key changes to our organization in response to feedback from our constituents: 1) We have added more Spanish speaking social workers to address improved communications and stronger relationships with an increasing number of ESL children and parents. 2) We have added additional employment and behavioral health experts as parents report a desire to navigate a COVID-impacted employment landscape and increased emotional hardships as the pandemic continues. 3) We have increased mobile vaccination events at our shelters and housing as parents report difficulties in obtaining COVID and flu vaccines. 4) we have increased staff training in trauma informed care to help better engage families experiencing greater self-assessed stress related to COVID impacts.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Asking for feedback from the families we serve allows us to continual provide the best and most effective services and care to help them get back up on their feet. A constant feedback loop- with resulting service improvements - also improves the trusting relationship between our social services staff and families in our care.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

FamilyAid Boston, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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FamilyAid Boston, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 3/11/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. John Worrall

C. Richard Carlson

UBS

Daniel Halston

WilmerHale

Charles Deknatel

Mass. Division of Capital Asset Management

Jay Hart

CrossHarbor Capital

Christopher Kelly

Emeritus

Michael McCormack

McCormack Suny LLC

Kip Sanford

Fifth Third Bank

W. Paul White

The Karol Group

Pierce Haley, Esq.

SerlinHaley LLP

Regina Norfolk

RN Communications

Laura Scott

Takeoff Technologies, Inc.

Bruce Liddell

IBM

Kevin Costello

Boston Capital

John Worrall

Ellen Cross

John Worrall

Cybersecurity

Larry Seamans

FamilyAid

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/11/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/13/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.