Brookview House is an independent, nonprofit organization for women and children experiencing homelessness that not only provides a safe place to live but support services and programs on site to confront the root causes of homelessness and transform lives. Its innovative approach addresses the distinct needs of each family member, preparing families for long-term stability and independence. Brookview’s commitment to improving the lives of homeless and at-risk families extends beyond its own walls, offering its programs to families within the local community as well.
When Brookview House opened its doors in 1990 two bedroom apartments rented for less than $600 and families – primarily women with children — were the smallest segment of the homeless population. Since then, much has changed. Family homelessness has escalated and faced with rents they cannot afford, families appeal to state agencies for shelter. Every night thousands of families live in shelters and the state has opened motels to accommodate the overflow.
THE BROOKVIEW MODEL
Brookview is recognized for its innovative approach to providing housing and services. Our objective is to provide a safe, supportive environment while moms and children pursue education, job training, and/or employment leading to personal and economic self-sufficiency.
Our two-generation model helps both moms and children develop tangible skills, and address cognitive, behavioral, attitudinal, and social factors. Many elements come together to make Brookview one of the most innovative programs serving homeless families:
- Safe, functional and attractive housing – Youth programs are on-site, housing and support services are the norm, and staff is dedicated to helping moms and kids succeed
- Opportunities for change – Moms and kids transform their lives and pursue their dreams through a full range of skill building, health and wellness workshops
- Partnerships – Brookview convenes nonprofit and for profit communities – mental health, policy makers, educators, advocates, corporations – to share resources and identify strategies that help homeless families succeed. Partners include: Lesley University, William James College, Northeastern University, Milton Academy, Fontbonne Academy, Boston Scientific, TripAdvisor, Brown Brothers Harriman, Cityscapes
- In 1990 Brookview had an innovative idea that offering housing coupled with support services for both moms and kids would get families out of the revolving door of homelessness. The innovative idea that started with sixteen moms and children has proven to be successful. Brookview House provides services to more than 350 moms and children per year with 92% leaving the ranks of homelessness permanently
- In 1996 Brookview created the first youth development program targeting homeless school-age children. This model transforms how we nurture, educate and engage homeless school-age youth. Brookview collaborates with local universities and the MA Department of Early Education & Care to serve more than 250 youth per year. Youth stay in school and thrive. 88% graduate high school.
- In 2008, Brookview developed the Practice to Policy Series in collaboration with Wheelock College and Northeastern University – An annual conference to convene policymakers, behavioral health practitioners, advocates, educators, and community partners. The goal is to build capacity for our clients and the sector and identify best practices that help homeless families succeed.
- In 2009, Brookview received a grant from the federal Dept of Justice Office on Violence Against Women to establish the Dorchester Women’s Safety Network.The goal is to develop a network that bridges the gap between domestic violence programs and homeless shelters and increases the availability of transitional housing and services to women and children rendered homeless as a result of domestic violence.
- In 2014, Brookview was designated a Tech Goes Home training site by the City of Boston. Brookview families and community residents learn computer skills, access the internet, search for jobs, prepare housing applications, resumes, communicate with their kids’ schools, and more. At the end of the program, participants can purchase a netbook for $50.
WHAT WE DO. We are guided by possibilities not limitations. Brookview uses an innovative, life-changing model to address the many obstacles families face in maintaining housing. What sets Brookview apart is a solid commitment to a ‘two-generation’ approach to breaking the generational cycles of homelessness, abuse and poverty. Both moms and kids develop tangible skills, and address cognitive, behavioral, attitudinal, and social factors. Brookview challenges assumptions and discovers better ways of thinking about and doing things.
1. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS are licensed by the Commonwealth and designed to help school-age children (5.9 to 19 years old) recover from the trauma of homelessness and do well in school. Research indicates that children in a supportive, stable community can heal from the traumas of homelessness, stay in school and thrive. Brookview provides daily after school and full day summer programs with customized academic, emotional and behavioral support. Our success is evident by the percentage of children who improve grades, exhibit better behavior and stay in school.
2. SUPPORTIVE HOUSING — Transitional Housing, Emergency Housing, Affordable Rental Apartments with Services, and Housing Search Assistance. Brookview provides a safe place to stay with on-site children’s programs and lots of support services. Moms who know their children are safe can focus on building the skills they need to support their families.
3. TRAINING AND EDUCATION. Our dedicated staff helps people address and overcome their particular barriers to success by offering a full range of skill building and health workshops. Each participant has a customized education, life skills and job skills training plan.
4. PREVENTION & STABILIZATION. Brookview House also opens its programs to local area residents and schools to help those at risk of homelessness stay at work and housed. As a result, we’re stabilizing the community as we’re helping families thrive. Brookview House leads the Dorchester Women’s Safety Network, a multi-cultural community partnership to prevent and end domestic violence.
Brookview targets families – more than a third of the homeless population. These moms and kids are at risk of long-term public dependency due to a multitude of barriers. The thoughtless insinuation is — they only need housing and this will solve their problem. That is rarely the case. Boston’s ranking as one of the most expensive cities in which to live with record high rents, utility and food costs, leaves thousands of moms and kids without a roof over their head.
Our constituents present with numerous barriers, sporadic work histories, and need extra assistance obtaining and maintaining employment. The families we serve are overwhelmed – many with histories of domestic violence, poor mental health and/or substance abuse. Despite these obstacles, families entering our programs demonstrate resilience and perseverance. They bring motivation and the desire to live independently. We provide services to:
- Women committed to lift their families out of homelessness
- Women homeless due to domestic violence
- Their children, who have been traumatized by instability
- Children and adults in the community at risk of abuse and homelessness.
The typical family at Brookview is:
- A single mother with two or three children
- 90% had their first child as a teenager
- Less than 30% have high school degrees
- 99% have an income well below the poverty level
TAKE A TOUR!
In just an hour you can hear from someone who has been through our program
and tour our supportive housing and youth development space.
Staff and Board members will be on hand to answer questions and share their perspective on Brookview House.
To schedule a tour, contact the Development Office: Mercedes Tompkins (617) 265-2965 x208