New Petersburg program focuses on making families self-sufficient

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) – A new program in Petersburg focuses on making families self-sufficient. It's a pilot program and the only one of its kind in the state. It's called the Petersburg Family Stabilization Initiative.

The idea is that participants can get multiple services from one program. It's essentially a one stop shop for assistance with housing, jobs, child care, and much more.

"It's an intensive management program. When a family comes to the program we do an assessment and look at what are your needs right now," said program supervisor Joshua Boggan.

Each family who enrolls is assigned a case counselor -- who works with the family in creating goals and plans for achieving those goals. Katrina Parker found out about the program and applied.

"Right now I need assistance with getting my life back together for me and my son. I'm looking for a job, trying to find housing, transportation -- all those things they're able to help me with," said Parker.

The program is funded through a grant awarded to the Petersburg Department of Social Services. Workshops focusing on financial management, health and wellness, and independent living skills are also offered under the program.

"Nothing in the program is mandatory, it's voluntary. Each family can earn incentives for attending different classes. We provide child care for families while they're in the workshops," said Boggan.

Families living in the Blandford, Robert E. Lee, and Pin Oaks neighborhoods are targeted to take part in the program. The Jones family calls the initiative a lifesaver.

"It helps you as far as creating for your family. It's helps you budget so you have what you need to maintain a family," said participant, Darryl Jones.

Right now, some 50 families are enrolled in the program.  Organizers say there's plenty room for others to join. Although the program received funding for one year, organizers are in the process of applying for more money in an effort to keep program going for years to come.

To qualify you must meet certain requirements, including being a Petersburg resident and having a child in the home that's under the age of 18.

If you're interested in learning more about the program contact the Petersburg Department of Social Services or call 732-5833.

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