Helping Homeless Children and Families in Dallas, Texas
Today's blog post highlights Vogel Alcove, a unique concept center that is helping homeless families in Dallas, Texas.
Dallas has the 6th largest GDP of any American city and more than 20 Fortune 500 company headquarters. Yet, approximately 4,500 children in Dallas will go to sleep tonight without a home. Families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, and 88% of those families are led by single mothers with multiple children under age five, often with no support system. They are fighting to survive. Homelessness is more than just a man standing on a street corner, it’s entire families.
Housing is essential to ending homelessness. Still, families also need food, employment, childcare, education, transportation, mental and health care, and supportive relationships in order to thrive. Homelessness robs parents of the ability to give children the safety and security they need to grow. Without intervention, the trauma of homelessness can cause life-long mental, physical, and emotional damage. Vogel Alcove’s services and programs are helping families heal their trauma, empowering parents to build stability, and letting kids just be kids.
Vogel Alcove is a nonprofit, non-religious 501(c)(3) organization that serves homeless children and families regardless of race, religion or gender. Vogel Alcove’s strategic initiative helps break the cycle of poverty by using a Two-Generational Approach to solving family homelessness. Vogel Alcove offers therapeutic educational programs that are specifically designed to support children (ages six weeks to 12 years) who are experiencing the trauma of homelessness. These programs include Early Childhood Services, School-Age services, Mental Health Services, Health Services & Family Support.
Therapeutic Early Childhood Programming is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). A research-based curriculum designed to help children living in traumatic circumstances like homelessness is utilized. This approach helps to improve developmental outcomes, foster social/emotional skills and creates a pathway for success in school.
Therapeutic School-Age Services include summer camps for children in Kindergarten through 8th grade. These services “fill in the gap,” providing children with a safe place to learn, play and gain new skills outside of school hours.
Mental Health Program is a critical component of Vogel Alcove’s programming. Being homeless creates a host of challenges for young children. Vogel Alcove’s approach is to understand these issues and offer a mental health curriculum focused on social/emotional skill building and creating community. On-site mental health therapy for children and adults is available.
Health Services address the physical well-being of homeless children. Weekly, onsite access to medical care, two meals and a snack each day, and daily nap time for kids who may not be able to get peaceful, uninterrupted sleep at night is provided. A full-time School Nurse is available for the basic health needs of our children, perform vision and hearing screenings, and educate parents about children’s health.
Family Support Program is an essential program for Vogel Alcove. To make the greatest impact on a child's life, the family must be included. Family support staff provide 1:1 case management, resources such as diapers and clothes, assistance procuring housing, education resources, employment assistance, career-ready training, partnerships with outside groups, parenting training, and more.
With generous community support, Vogel Alcove has served more than 17,000 children and their families since 1987. A few key statistics for 2020-2022:
63% of parents were unemployed when their child/children enrolled at Vogel Alcove; 26% were employed in temporary jobs with limited hours and no benefits.
56% of parents were employed or in school when their child/children left Vogel Alcove.
85% of preschool children showed gains in the areas of social/emotional, physical, language and cognitive development and were on track for their age and stage of development.
68% of the children we served during the 2021-2022 school year had decreased or eliminated mental health risk factors.
93 children and parents received one-on-one therapy in 2021.
After 8 months at Vogel Alcove, 80% of infant and toddler children are able to function at appropriate stages of development.
Our impact shows that in 2020, 70% of families experienced decreased housing vulnerability.
During the pandemic, NOT ONE FAMILY SLID BACK INTO HOMELESSNESS.
The success of Vogel Alcove’s mission and the exponential growth of their programs and services over the last 35 years is not possible without the support of donors. Vogel Alcove receives funding from foundations, corporations, community organizations, government grants, private individual donations and through proceeds from special events, such as the annual Arts Performance Event and the Day 1 Dallas family fair.