< Back to Stories of Hope & Change

What 120 Days Can Do

For the homeless, follow-up makes the difference

For 25 years, Community LINC has been helping families in Kansas City, Missouri, escape homelessness and poverty. In 2012, with support from the McGowan Fund, Community LINC launched the Interim Housing and Aftercare Program, which provides families transitional housing and supportive services for 120 days with intensive follow-up services for an additional nine months. Aftercare services help participants regain self-sufficiency with mental health counseling and customized employment plans as well as coaching in life skills, healthy lifestyles, and budgeting.

With the new program, Community LINC will be able to serve twice as many families—up to 135 families per year—while increasing participants’ likelihood of success and self-sufficiency, according to Jeannine Short, senior director of programs and services. “We help them realize if they are proactive and problem-solve. When they know where to turn for help, they can prevent the cycle of homelessness,” she said.

This focus on long-term success, as well as the nonprofit’s long commitment to results measurement, made the program a natural fit for the McGowan Fund, said Teresa McClain, Community LINC’s associate executive director. “We view the Fund as a very analytical funder and very serious stewards of their resource. They want to invest in something that works and they want to see the results to back that up,” she explained.

The program is proving successful, with 80 percent of participating families moved to permanent housing and 88 percent of adults employed by the program’s end. “The McGowan Fund’s grant was the seed money that allowed this to get off the ground,” McClain said. “It was a show of faith that we were able to leverage for additional funding. Now, we’re seeing tremendous success.”