Since late 2017, the Urban Institute’s Housing Opportunities and Services Together team has partnered with public housing authority BangorHousing and the Boys & Girls Club of Bangor, Maine, in a formative evaluation of Families Forward, a locally designed and funded two-generation program that builds on
BangorHousing’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
Our initial findings show that families enrolled in Families Forward experience economic gains, such as an increase in annual income, and social-emotional growth, like greater investment in their community and development of parenting skills. The program provides crucial social supports for families to connect with one another and access services and trainings that can help them achieve greater economic mobility. However, even with additional financial coaching and skill development classes, families encountered systemic barriers when trying to reach their goals, such as buying a home, pursuing secondary education or training, or developing stronger support networks.
Moving forward, it will be important that the Families Forward program strengthen collaboration among partners, seek out more opportunities to support families, and continue to build on the strong culture of trust that it has created.