The Erin Kimball Foundation serves homeless survivors of domestic violence and abuse. The foundation has provided over 223,481 safe nights in apartment type settings to over 182 survivors and 412 children since the doors opened. There is not a demographic untouched by domestic violence, so participants have come from all walks of life, ethnic and religious back grounds. The foundation exists to serve any individual who has experienced domestic violence.
We strive to empower all participants in their healing, this is why we ask all applicants be willing and able to either be employed or be going to school. And often times they are doing both because they are amazing. A portion of their income goes to pay their rent and Erin Kimball is making up the difference and providing support services. This is why so many of our participants are back to independent by the end of the program. Each one of them is a beautiful work in progress and moving toward independence.
Almost all of the families we serve are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, prior to entering the program. Consequently, the cornerstone of the HOME program is housing. Once a family is in a safe, comfortable home, it can begin a healing process leading to self-sufficiency. HOME is designed as a six month program leading to permanent housing. In addition to housing, the HOME program offers:
• Parenting classes
• Relationship classes
• Financial management
• Life-skills training
• Support club for kids
• Mentoring program for single moms
• Homeownership preparation
• Monitoring of progress and celebration of success
Erin Kimball is a conduit and many of these support services are provided through other agencies, public and private, free of charge.
Though homelessness and domestic violence are not problems that come immediately to mind when thinking about southwestern Utah, these problems do exist. The area’s low wages and moderately expensive housing make it difficult for single wage earners to survive. The difficulty often becomes an impossibility when the single wage earner is trying to support a family on minimum wage. The tremendous need for the H.O.M.E. program is best demonstrated by the following statistics.
• Two-bedroom apartments in Washington County rent for an average of $626.
• If a single mom is to pay no more than 30% of her income for rent, she needs to earn $12.06 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
• In the state of Utah, 42% of single mothers with children under the age of five are living in poverty; in St. George, 64% of these families are in poverty.
• 883 children were identified as homeless by the Washington County school district in 2015. Although we added 26 women and 60 children, we turn away 3-6 families per week.
• Families can stay in a domestic violence shelter for no more than thirty days. When their time is up, they are often forced to choose between returning to violence and homelessness. How participants are chosen.
Prospective participants complete an application, which collects general background information. Applicants then meet with the Foundation’s Family Advocate, who conducts an initial assessment of needs, program qualification and determines whether the applicant is appropriate. If an applicant is accepted into the program, but there is no housing available, the applicant is placed on a waiting list, with priority determined by the application date.
What participants pay. Families who participate in the HOME program pay 30% of their net income each month. HUD and other federal agencies consider this percentage to be the most a family should pay toward housing. Even though almost all program participants are living in already-subsidized apartments—typically renting for $500 to $600 — 30% of participants’ income is rarely enough to cover this reduced rent. Therefore, as a practical matter, most participants pay 30% of their income directly to the apartment complex, with the Foundation making up the balance.
Housing units used in the program.The most expensive part of the HOME program is the housing. Therefore, to minimize the Foundation’s costs, it is desirable to place participants in the least expensive housing available. Because participants enter the program with low incomes, it is possible to use housing in affordable apartment complexes.Erin Kimball Foundation 990(501)(c)(3)
Chair: Angela Thoburn
Trustee: Shannon Anderson
Trustee: Mike Carr
Trustee: Rev. Michael Chamness
Trustee: Kristin Williams
Trustee: Sue Kimball
Trustee: Ryan Bishop
Dorothy Engelman – Executive Director
Monica Tallakson – Family Advocate