Four Oaks, one of five agencies nationally, has been awarded a competitive federal grant designed for children and families who are at-risk or in the child welfare system in part due to sub-standard or non-existent housing. The project, Partners United for Supportive Housing Cedar Rapids, PUSH-CR, is the first of its kind in Iowa. The agency will manage $1M each year, for five-years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Four Oaks is a child-welfare and juvenile justice agency, headquartered in Cedar Rapids.
“We believe we can really begin to change children’s lives in the long term when we look at how to consistently meet their basic needs, and housing is certainly one of those needs,” said Anne Gruenewald, Four Oaks Chief Strategy Officer. “This grant comes at a time when we are seeing positive results from a two-year pilot project called TotalChild. The TotalChild pilot addresses how we, as a community, need to work differently to help kids hurdle all obstacles to success.”
Four Oaks and partners convened by the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation include: Iowa Department of Human Services, Foundation 2, Area Substance Abuse Council, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, Linn County Public Health, United Way, Affordable Housing Network Inc., Waypoint, Abbe Center for Community Mental Health, Partnership for Safe Families, Horizons, Kirkwood, City of Cedar Rapids Housing Services, Diversity Focus, Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission, Linn County Community Services, Iowa Children’s Justice, Cedar Rapids Community School District, University of Iowa, Leadership Circle and the National Center on Family Homelessness.
Partners will work to toward safe stable housing, help parents retain custody of their children, ensure child safety and family stability, achieve higher levels of employment and improve family functioning and child well-being.