Homeless Gear Launches “One Village One Family” Program

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Homeless Gear Launches “One Village One Family” Program to Serve Homeless Families in Fort Collins—Program Marks Extension of State-Sponsored “One Congregation One Family” Initiative

Fort Collins, Colorado, October 10, 2014: Homeless Gear is pleased to announce the launch of “One Village One Family” (OVOF), a program designed to help homeless families escape homelessness and regain self-sufficiency. The program—launched today—represents another step in Homeless Gear’s efforts to provide services that not only help homeless individuals survive and meet their basic needs, but also help them connect to resources, find housing and get back on their feet.

Ken John, Founder and former Executive Director of Homeless Gear, along with his wife, Nancy John, will co-coordinate the program on behalf of Homeless Gear.

“OVOF is a proven model that already has the support of dozens of community stakeholders: churches, agencies, volunteers and others,” said David Rout, Executive Director of Homeless Gear. “We are confident that Ken and Nancy will guide this project with the same enthusiasm and vision as Ken led Homeless Gear during his tenure as Executive Director.”

OVOF matches homeless families with trained mentor teams, and those mentor teams raise funds for and provide about six months of mentorship to each family; funds are directed toward first month rent and other emergency needs.

The program was launched in 2006 under its original name, One Congregation One Family (OCOF), by the Governor’s Office in Denver. It exceeded its goal to house over 1,000 families by mid-2014, with 87% of the families maintaining stable housing after the first year. Beginning in 2012, the program was introduced in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction. A successful pilot program was completed in Fort Collins in 2012. Statewide to date, 350 mentor groups have served more than 2,600 individuals.

In other communities, the mentor teams were recruited exclusively from churches. Homeless Gear elected to change the name to OVOF in recognition of the fact that any group of adults, including but not limited to faith-based groups, can form effective mentor teams, or “villages.”

Homeless Gear will serve as the lead agency for OVOF, but Homeward 2020 will serve in a support role and Faith Family Hospitality, The Family Center/La Familia and the Matthews House will refer families into the program.

If you represent a church, organization, company, civic group, club or other group that might want to form a mentor team—or if you want to learn more—please contact Ken, by email at Ken@HomelessGear.org or by phone at (970) 581-4921. Visit the OVOF page of Homeless Gear’s website (http://www.homelessgear.org/ovof) for more information!

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