Willingness & Ability
Acres of Hope offers housing and structured programming that will provide a pathway to homeless women who are willing to utilize tools learned. Where a resident is willing Acres of Hope promises to make them able. However, without willingness Acres of Hope cannot show progress. In response, our intake committee takes all necessary precautions to carefully screen candidates who are seeking a temporary solution to long-term issues by requiring a referral to be considered, conducting two separate interviews (one with staff and one with senior residents), and offering a 30-day orientation period to watch behaviors and determine the level of willingness.
Grace, Truth & Time
Acres of Hope combines the elements of grace, truth and time to achieve success. John 1:14 states that Jesus was full of grace and truth. Having grace and truth becomes a standard that Acres of Hope staff/volunteers are trained to model.
Grace is defined as ‘unmerited favor’ meaning that each resident (staff and volunteer) are accepted unconditionally and not according to anything he/she has earned. Grace removes shame and guilt in order that accountability can have its way.
Truth is the ultimate reality. Each person lives in his/her own reality, with events, thoughts, opinions all seeming to be very real – but aren’t always the truth. Our goal is to address believe systems, behaviors and attitudes and bring them into alignment with truth, that is God’s word. Principles given in the Bible and lived out by Jesus are our source for truth. Truth leads to accountability when spoken firmly and lovingly.
Time is something afforded to residents within the program in order that they may focus on the healing process. Acres of Hope’s goal is not to heal every wound, but to provide practical tools/skills that can be used to walk through any given situation. Time is needed for the body to stabilize, trusting relationships to be established and for practicing and mastering skills.
It is our intent to serve women who have a sincere desire to turn their lives around and are willing to put forth the effort to do so. Therefore Acres of Hope (AoH) accepts residents on a referral basis only. Referrals are made from Placer County, partner churches, existing programs serving the homeless and individuals within the community. Referrals are made by completing a referral packet and will include an application completed by the mother and be accompanied by a referral information sheet completed by the individual / organization making the referral.
Selection, Intake and Screening
AoH residents will be selected on predetermined criteria that best match candidates to be successful within the program. Applicants must be drug and alcohol free for a minimum of three consecutive months. Applicants may be required to complete prerequisites such as a medical screening or drug testing prior to admission. Residents will be interviewed as a family unit. The needs of each family member will be considered during the interview process to provide sufficient information to establish an individualized family plan designed to address issues pertaining to the family and ensure AoH’s ability to serve the family. Potential residents will interview with staff as well as senior residents with opportunity to assess a good fit for both parties.
Individual Family Plans
AoH residents will participate with staff to establish personal and family goals for their stay and beyond. Personal successes will be celebrated along the way with frequent evaluations to ensure modifications are made as necessary.
Each family will live in their own private fully furnished cottage that can sleep 4-5 with a personal bathroom, bedding, kitchenette, study area and a place to store the family’s belongings. The "House" is a common area that provides a full kitchen, living room, dining room and meeting space. Other classrooms and common areas provide space for meetings, classes and socializing. A playground for children is provided as a safe place for kids to play.
Children will be integrated into the public school system with tutoring, mentoring, life-skill classes and counseling offered at AoH to supplement their education. Mothers will actively participate in this area as well as daily operations such as preparation of meals and cleanup in addition to attending classes, workshops and counseling designed to address their needs as identified during the intake process. Children ages 0-5 will attend onsite daycare where their specific needs will be addressed as AoH tutors prepare them for the demands of school. Special services are either provided on site or off site depending upon the needs. Examples include speech therapy, counseling, horseback riding therapy, etc.
Rural Community Living
Residents at AoH will be housed in a rural setting nestled in Auburn, California, approximately 35 miles east of Sacramento. The environment offers a retreat from the elements that often entangle them and impede efforts to overcome barriers. Residents play an active role in the daily operations in order to apply learned concepts that lead to life-long changes.
Cost to Residents
Residents will not be charged a fee to stay at AoH until they have obtained employment, unless required to retain funding streams. Our intent is to provide rest from the pressure of paying for services and allow residents to focus on their personal and family goals. Individuals will qualify for various funding sources and will be required to place a predetermined amount into a savings account for use upon graduation with the remaining amount available for discretionary spending according to an established budget. Budgeting skills will be learned and implemented throughout the family’s stay.
Responsibilities and Privileges
AoH residents will be responsible for following a strict code of conduct in order to remain in the program as we believe responsibilities and privileges go hand in hand. Promoting accountability is essential to the success of each individual as they gain an understanding of consequences for each decision. Privileges will be earned and will serve as an outward result of their accountability.
The daily schedule requires a significant amount of effort on behalf of all family members’ involvement in the programs operations. Residents are expected to participate in the preparation and clean up of meals, maintaining the grounds, general upkeep of the facility and more.
As accountability is key to our success, residents will learn that AoH is a grace-based program and does not “kick someone out” of the program but that residents can choose to leave the program due to behaviors that are not tolerated. Such behaviors may include, but are not limited to, drug or alcohol use, violence or theft.
Opportunities for growth are offered as AoH understands that recovery includes relapses or poor choices. Staff considers events as either ‘an incident’ or ‘a pattern’ and addresses each differently. Peer relationships play a part in the accountability process.
The program established for each family will be highly structured during the majority of their stay. Families will interact with each other during most daily activities. However, AoH promotes normalcy to the greatest extent possible by allowing families to move towards independence and will modify a family program to achieve this goal.
For example, meals will be served in the dining room for all residents with preparation and clean up being done using teams. This environment does not prepare residents to experience the realizations of purchasing and preparing food for their own family but rather the entire household. Therefore, mothers will be given increasing opportunities towards the end of the family’s stay to perform these duties to better reflect a normal family environment as shopping allows them to utilize skills learned in budgeting and planning. Furthermore, a standardized kitchen will be available for food preparation and allows the experience of a family meal with all the elements this entails.
For example, children living at AoH are encouraged to participate in local and school activities. One such child played on a local soccer team for two seasons prior to graduation.
The success of AoH depends upon strong community support and partnerships. Community members are invited to participate as volunteers, serve on advisory boards or support the program financially. The consequences of homelessness affect everyone as it diminishes the strength of a community. In response, AoH actively participates within the community by providing services to the existing homeless population. This ultimately restores families who then become productive citizens, thereby reducing their dependence upon social services.
Sources of community support and partnerships are found in various forms such as local churches, existing programs serving the homeless, various Placer County departments, local businesses and individual community members.
Residents will find a strong sense of commitment to community within the program at AoH. They will learn the benefits of volunteerism that supports a “give-and-take” model and allows individuals to look outside of themselves and give back to their community. AoH’s strategic partnerships with the community provides support that enhances the lives of its residents and provides growth opportunities that are critical components to the success of each resident.