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An Overview of the Family Unification Program

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What is The Family Unification Program (FUP)?

  • FUP is a housing program for families in the child welfare system. At minimum, FUP provides Section 8 vouchers to child welfare families.
  • FUP is a collaboration between Housing Authorities and Child Welfare Agencies.
  • FUP is a program designed to strengthen and stabilize child welfare families.

Program Goals

  • To increase the housing resources of child welfare families to prevent the separation of children from their parents because of inadequate housing.
  • To facilitate and expedite access to housing and supportive services through agency collaboration.

What are the Benefits of FUP?

  • For PHAs: increased ability to serve clientele, more Section 8 vouchers.
  • For CWAs: expanded access to housing solutions for families, caseworkers.
  • For families: affordable housing, stability, reunification, exit from the child welfare system.
  • For the community: it is the preferred and most cost-effective alternative to foster care.

Establishing a FUP

  • Begin to ask questions regarding the housing needs in your community; consult CWA direct service workers.
  • Map out current housing resources.
  • Document the need for FUP in your community.
  • Approach your partner (PHA, CWA) to exchange ideas, observations, and plans.
  • Dedicate Section 8 subsidies to FUP; determine a reasonable number of vouchers to set aside for the program
  • Set a local preference
  • Apply to HUD for FUP vouchers through the FUP NOFA

Build the Partnership

  • Gain an understanding of the mission and limitations of your partner agency.
  • Lay out and agree upon the responsibilities of each partner agency.
  • Specify the type and duration of services to be provided to FUP families upon lease-up
  • Write a detailed Memorandum of Understanding

Elements of an Effective Partnership

  • Appoint liaisons
  • Reliable communication
  • Regular meetings
  • Patience
  • Cross training
  • Staff support
  • Invite in additional partners
  • Seek additional funding for services
  • Solicit feedback from program participants

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What if a family has a criminal record, history of drug and alcohol abuse, or owes money to PHA?
  • Can a family's voucher be taken away if they fail to comply with FUP?
  • What records are we supposed to keep?
  • Why do CWAs close cases so soon after families move in to their permanent housing?

What Services are Needed to Support FUP Families?

  • Service needs are determined on a case by case basis.
  • HUD and CWLA suggest at least 60-90 days of follow-up services.
  • Most common services:
  • On-going case management
  • Family counseling, parenting classes
  • Drug and alcohol treatment
  • Budgeting

Building in Services to Support FUP Families

  • Train CWA staff on housing resources
  • CWA budget
  • Family Self Sufficiency Program
  • Other area non-profits and supportive housing providers
  • Continuum of Care Funding
  • Surplus TANF Funding

Model Programs

  • State of Illinois
  • Connections, Inc., New Haven, CT
  • Suffolk County, NY
  • State of Arkansas

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