As the Program Director for Family Housing Stabilization at FACETS, Amanda Perry oversees the operations of the Next Steps Family Program and the case management for families in Region 1 of Fairfax County. Amanda holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Salisbury University and a Masters in Forensic Psychology from Marymount University. She has experience as an intern with both the Robbery/Homicide department at the Arlington County Police Department and the Case Analysis Division at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Before coming to FACETS, she spent a year as a community case manager at an organization working with individuals and families experiencing homelessness and poverty.
What is the best part of working as the Program Director for Family Housing Stabilization?
The best part of this position is seeing the direct impact that our services in preventing homelessness and rapidly re-housing families has on the community and our participants. It gives me the opportunity to be a voice for our families when I am out in the community.
What do you find most challenging about your position?
The lack of affordable housing. Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in this area is $1,623 a month. Even if a household was paying 50% of their income towards housing, they would have to work over 103 hours PER WEEK at minimum wage just to afford it. Voucher programs typically have families pay 35% of their income. With that formula, a family would have to work over 147 hours per week at minimum wage to afford that apartment.
How can volunteers get involved with Next Steps? There are several volunteers opportunities at Next Steps. A Pantry volunteer would manage our pantry that stores non-perishable foods, hygiene products, diapers, schools supplies, and other household items. A Front Desk Volunteer is needed to help answer the phones and assist walk-in clients at the front desk. They could help with other clerical duties as well. In addition, we have an Employment Meet Up program once a week at the office. Our Employment Specialist works with adults in homeless families who are unemployed and underemployed. Volunteers are needed to help transport program participants to and from the shelter for this program. A childcare assistant is also needed to look after the children of those who attend the Employment Meet Up. Outside of these specific needs, we welcome any volunteer that has a skill set they would like to teach our families.
Is there anything you wish everyone knew about FACETS and the work we do?
Our work is not simply finding housing, paying a security deposit, and exiting households from shelter into permanent housing. There are uphill battles everyday including securing affordable childcare, accessing physical and mental health services, becoming employed at a decent wage, and much more. We could not do the work we do without the support from our community, and especially our volunteers. Whether it is volunteering time at our organization, financially contributing, or simply dropping off a bag of food and diapers so we can give it to a struggling family who is homeless, it all goes a very long way.