VICTORVILLE – Within a tiny Victorville location, magic happens for juveniles, adults, and families in need of assistance. The Family Assistance Program began serving the Victor Valley Community in 1985, with their headquarters being located at 15075 7th Street in the City of Victorville.
The non-profit organization does not have a sole purpose but serves many different groups of people including domestic violence and human trafficking survivors. In addition to these groups, the Family Assistance Program offers “Our House” that serves youth ages 11-17-years-old with shelter and other assistance that focuses on healthy family reunification. and A Youth Drop-In Center called the “Fam Spot” where at-risk (and other) youth go to in order to enjoy a no-cost place for those 12-21-years-old to stop by and enjoy online tutoring, peer group sessions, free wifi, snacks and a LGBTQ-friendly environment. Assisting people at risk and/or on the road to a better life is what the “Probation House” does by helping homeless women on probation and their children with housing services for up to a year.
The Family Assistance Program, “Hope House”, offers several services assisting those involved in situations of Domestic Violence including restraining order assistance, court ordered visitation, anger management, and domestic violence classes. A safe shelter for the victim of violence, their children, and pets is located at a home in the Victor Valley. The location is undisclosed for the protection of the survivors and their children. “We are one of the only shelters that accept the pets,” said Melissa Woods, the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Family Assistance Program. “You would never believe how many abusers hurt or kill the pet belonging to the victim if the pet is left in their care when the victim leaves. We know that people love their pets and want to make the transition as easy as possible on them.” Domestic Violence prevention training is also provided free of charge to local schools in order to teach the youth about domestic violence. For assistance with domestic violence, the victim can call (760) 949-4357 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
With youth in mind, the Family Assistance program began “Our House”, located in the City of Redlands provides temporary housing for homeless youth empowering them to make the best and safest life choices. The goal is family reunification, but first tools are provided in order to open the lines of communication between the parent and the youth. “Our House” is a safe and structured environment providing the young person with all of their needs while providing the individualized services that they require. Contact is available 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. Some come for intervention between the parents and teen in order to reach understanding, other youth call when they have run away or were kicked out of their home. Those without a home can be provided a bed, meals, showers, and the support needed. Those needing assistance can call day or night at (909) 335-2676.
The “Fam Spot” serves youth ages 12-years-old. The location is in the basement of the Family Assistance Program building on 7th Street. The Fam Spot is a bit of a hidden treasure as you walk down a somewhat hidden and narrow stairway. When you get to the bottom of the stairs you see a community clothing closet, full of neatly organized clothing in just about every size. When you get into the next room there is a family room type setting, perfect for any pre-teen, teen, and young adult to just relax, have fun, and be themselves. When Melissa Woods speaks of the youth drop-in program her eyes light up as she tells stories of the youth who drop in. “The kids come hungry and wanting something quick to eat; something that they can pop into the microwave,” said Woods. “We always are in need of youth-friendly snacks to feed the kids, and there is never enough.” The youth drop-in center is open on Tuesday through Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information call (760)843-0701 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
The “Probation House” provides housing and case management for women with and without children who are on probation. The service is provided for one year. For more information, Case Manager Yvette Abreo can be reached at 909-833-9941 or emailed at Yvette@FamilyAssist.org
The newest part of the “The Open Door”, which provides assistance to those who are victims of Human Trafficking. “People think it is only something that happens in third world countries, but it is not,” said Woods. Woods said that young people get lured into these situations with job offers, some too good to be true. Some of these offers come from signs targeting teens for high-paying jobs, while others may offer the teen a modeling job or other job opportunity. These kids come from all walks of life, some runaways while others are from stable homes. The Family Assistance Program works to help those people with the support needed through their partnerships with Public Defenders, District Attorneys and the California Probation Department. Survivors are supported with resources throughout their healing process. Housed in both the adult and youth shelters they provide, a stable environment and options for those victimized by human trafficking. For more information the Anti-Human Trafficking 24-hour hotline is available at 909-333-7476 or 866-770-7867. Woods said that education regarding human trafficking is also provided so that both adult and youth are aware of this growing problem.
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