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Pay it Forward Friday: Home Stretch Atlanta

The heart of HomeStretch's mission is helping homeless families get back on their feet and into permanent, sustainable housing. This is no small endeavor considering that the HomeStretch families typically come to us earning salaries at or below the poverty threshold. Supporting a family at this income level brings such financial hardship that the family is unable to make ends meet and inevitably becomes homeless.

HomeStretch gives homeless parents and their children a safe and comfortable place to live while simultaneously helping them address the root causes of their situation and return to a life of self-reliance and stability. When they graduate from HomeStretch, the families have a strong grasp on their finances, have reduced insurmountable debt and have accumulated savings. Many have even increased their income through job skills training and improved employment.

Through the work of dedicated Family Coordinators, volunteer support teams and life skills workshops, our families are armed with all the tools they need to succeed.

HomeStretch Vision:
HomeStretch will strive to become a financially thriving, success-oriented vital organization that is recognized as the Atlanta area leader in assisting homeless working families to increase their self-reliance and stability.

HomeStretch is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) agency that offers long-term assistance for the homeless in the North Fulton community. We provide transitional housing and educational skills for low-income families who have nowhere else to turn. HomeStretch attempts to intervene early in the stumble toward homelessness and guide our neighbors back to self-sufficiency. We offer temporary housing for permanent solutions.

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HomeStretch History:
HomeStretch began in 1991 when volunteers at the local North Fulton Community Charities realized the need for affordable housing in the North Fulton area. An increasing number of at-risk families began applying for housing assistance during this time. However, the Charities could offer these families nothing beyond emergency short-term aid.

To address this growing need, volunteers formed the ministry HELPFUL within the North Fulton Community Charities. Charter members of HELPFUL traveled extensively throughout the USA, studying the foundations of various transitional housing programs. Taking the best elements of each, HELPFUL and North Fulton Community Charities joined forces to establish the founding principles upon which HomeStretch operates today.

The Roswell Presbyterian Church was the first organization to become involved with the HomeStretch mission, generously paying a year's rent for the first HomeStretch family. By 1994, HomeStretch was incorporated and had earned 501c(3) nonprofit status. During this time, HomeStretch had grown to manage homeless families in five residencies. The agency purchased and renovated these housing properties through governmental assistance and community donations. Volunteers accomplished nearly all the work in these early years as HomeStretch had only one part-time worker to manage each client enrolled in the program.

Today, our agency owns and operates 27 single family residences. We have trained social workers that work directly with families and over 800 caring citizens that commit their time and energy each year to ensure the success of our clients. The work of HomeStretch and its supporters has been recognized by various foundations and the community at large. In the summer of 2000, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development rewarded HomeStretch with its Award of Excellence as one of the top 100 community housing organizations in the United States.

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