April 29, 2021

Bridge Communities

Through the help of our program partners and supporters, Bridge Communities provides free transitional housing to more than 100 DuPage County families experiencing homelessness each year. During the two years each family spends in our program, they are able to save money, learn budgeting skills, and obtain better employment, so they can live self-sufficiently once they graduate.

Mission: The mission of Bridge Communities is to transition homeless families to self-sufficiency by working with partners to provide mentoring, housing, and supportive services.

Vision: Our vision is a community where all families are healthy, financially stable, and living in affordable housing.

Values: Each of our core values—Partnership, Empowerment, Integrity, Respect, Hope—apply to everyone involved in Bridge Communities – clients, mentors, program partners, volunteers, donors, board members, staff and community.

Key Elements:

Housing: Client families reside in Bridge Communities-owned apartment buildings that are spread throughout DuPage County.  They are located in the communities of: Glen Ellyn, Addison, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Naperville, Westmont and Woodridge.  The apartments are primarily two-bedroom units, although there are a few three-bedroom units in inventory.  Families are in the Transitional Housing Program for an average of two years.

Mentoring: Volunteer mentors from Program Partners sponsor and assist the client families as they work to develop the life skills necessary for self-sufficiency.  Mentors help families with: budget development and savings plan, debt reduction, financial literacy, self-esteem, emotional support, parental skills, and healthy decision making.

Case Management: Bridge Communities’ professional case managers are available to assist mentors and client families in accessing resources that are important for families to achieve their individual goals.  Case managers lead client families and volunteer mentors through the development of short-term and long-term Program goals that the case managers closely monitor.

Employment Counseling: Bridge Communities’ employment director assists client families in securing and maintaining employment that will sustain their economic self-sufficiency upon graduation from the Transitional Housing Program.  Job readiness training, resume writing, and mock interviewing are some of the counseling services offered.  The employment director also helps client’s families gain acceptance into local universities, colleges, and training centers.  Once meaningful employment is secured, client families and the employment director focus on job retention and further employment training to continue to increase income.

Tutoring: Since homelessness disrupts the continuity of school attendance, Bridge Communities provides professionally certified teachers to tutor all school-age children to help them achieve academic success.  Tutors are hired to work with children one to two times per week throughout the school year.  Bridge Communities is especially interested in helping homeless children succeed so as to break the generational cycle of poverty.  Academic scholarships are available to college-bound students who maintain above-average grade point averages and attend accredited colleges or universities.

Counseling Resources: At times, client families need additional resources to help cope with life stressors or ongoing emotional issues.  To help, Bridge partners with community-based psychological services for short or long-term counseling.  These services are available for both parents and children.

Car Donations: Homeless families often come into our Transitional Housing Program in need of reliable transportation to help them get to their jobs and take their children to child care or school.  Bridge Communities solicits auto donations from persons in our communities; all cars are checked for safety before being given to client families.

Spotlight Guest

Amy Van Polen, Senior Director

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