Family Supportive Services (FSS)
Family Supportive Services (FSS) is divided into two programs: HOPE Advocacy and FAITH Initiative. HOPE serves women and children, single women, and couples; FAITH serves men with a specific focus on fathers and their role in the family and community. Both programs encourage the creation of a stable home and family environment, reaching important life goals (such as obtaining a GED, driver’s license, or permanent housing), and finding support in the community. To further this goal, staff members and clients of both program components attend monthly support group meetings, often focused on a topic pertaining to self-improvement or better life management. The application and interview process for FSS is very involved and detailed, allowing case managers the opportunity to best assess the needs of the applicants as they begin their journeys. Curious about the extent of the FSS application, or need a copy for reference? A new application is coming soon!
Approximately one third of our clients reside in Sharon (including those who live in our RUTH transitional housing; all eight apartments are located in Sharon), one fourth in Hermitage, and the rest spread throughout the remainder of Mercer County.
For more information about the benefits of and requirements for FSS, download our brochure.
The HOPE (Help and Opportunity for Personal Empowerment) Advocacy program began in August, 1996. It is a branch of FSS that provides long-term support (up to 24 months) for clients who live in established homes and the opportunity to learn basic life skills necessary for self-sufficiency and family stability through intensive case management and monthly support groups. Individuals or families struggling with the effects of poverty are eligible as long as they are committed to making a change in their lives and residing in Mercer County.
In 2014, HOPE Advocacy served 77 individuals: 30 women, 1 man, and 46 children. 100% of our clients were below the poverty level.
Our newest program, FAITH Initiative promotes reconnecting fathers and their children, and strives to teach absent fathers the importance of loving, spending time with, providing for, and supporting their children as a family. Each participant works closely with an assigned Life Advocate as they “journey” through four levels of programming (Orientation, Probation, Transitioning, and Achievement) over the course of two years, earning special awards and recognition along the way. Workshops and group meetings are held monthly. Everyone in the program learns valuable lessons from each other, forming a greater sense of responsibility towards self, others, and community.