Louise Williams, a Portland native, registered Family Essentials LLC in July 2015. For the previous 10 years, Louise worked with children and families in many roles in Social Services. She noticed that the largest barrier to life success was the ability to sustain or maintain housing, especially for those involved with child welfare. Overall, people in poverty lack the knowledge of and access to community resources and services, such as food, clothing, and mental health services. The larger agencies were doing a lot of good work and yet a solid percentage of families were falling through the cracks.
Louise wanted to better understand what it would take to provide stable housing with supportive services. Through this journey, the dream of Family Essentials was born. Family Essentials provides a smaller, more individualized setting where families can feel more comfortable accessing services. The Family Essentials approach is two pronged. One component is transitional housing where residents pay their own subsidized rent. The other component is the contracted services.
Housing: In July 2015, Louise purchased a four-plex property in east Portland for the purpose of housing Family Essentials. Family Essentials was able to offer affordable transitional housing for families. Over the next two years, 75% of participants obtained permanent housing upon completion of the program. Due to the increased need and limitations of the space, Louise sold the four-plex in October 2017 and in January 2018, Louise purchased a three-bedroom house with half an acre of land in East Portland, which is the new location of Family Essentials. Currently, the house has space for 4 families. Families transitioning from homelessness live in individual rooms or the studio basement apartment. Family Essentials is now planning to build 9 affordable housing units in the back of the lot to increase transitional housing service delivery.
Contracted Services: Once the transitional housing component was built, then Family Essentials began incorporating more contracted services in 2018. Some of the services provided: include hands on parenting, service coordination, therapeutic visitations, youth employment and education coaching, and substance abuse and mental health counseling.