June 2022 Member Spotlight: American Family Housing

American Family Housing is a committed and active member of the Family Solutions Collaborative working to end family homelessness. American Family Housing provides housing and an array of support services necessary to help vulnerable populations recover from the long-term effects of homelessness. In addition to the continuum of housing offered, American Family Housing’s services target at-risk populations, such as veterans, families with a disabled household member and vulnerable adults with barriers to housing stability such as mental illness.

Vision: American Family Housing envisions strong Southern California communities where an affordable home is available to everyone, where all children have a place at home to study, and where everyone has a decent kitchen where they can cook.

Mission: American Family Housing knows what it takes for a person or family to access the services and support they need to achieve stability, recover, and pursue their own life goals. These approaches are proven, and can save tax payer dollars, while doing the right thing.

American Family Housing believes the simplest solution is the best and most cost effective. Permanent rental housing for formerly homeless families and individuals, with just the right amount of supportive services.

With programs such as Permanent Supportive Housing, about 25% of American Family Housing’s affordable housing units are considered service enriched permanent supportive housing and are reserved for households with one disabled family member. Their Children’s Program serves all ages and provides educations, therapeutic and social activities that address the impact of homelessness and housing instability on children.

We asked American Family Housing a few questions about their philosophies and strategies, here is what they had to share:

Share an innovative approach you have used to prevent and solve family homelessness: 

American Family Housing is opening 207 units in the County of Orange in 2022, which include: 20 new supportive rental housing units of at least two bedrooms in Orange County in 2021, and another 50 one-bedroom rental units designed to be large enough for families. AFH continues to work to prevent and solve homelessness by creating more housing opportunities in all the communities it serves, and works collaboratively, both externally with community partners and stakeholders, but also internally amongst its own teams. In support of serving high-acuity households, AFH is in its second year of operating a Mental Health team created overseen by Licensed Clinical Social Workers, who to help tenants with addressing the challenges that contribute to returning to homelessness, and has an in-house property management team.


How has your agency reduced barriers for families to access services and what did you learn in the process? 

AFH has worked to grow and diversify our team to best serve everyone who might benefit from our approach. AFH has shifted to a model that operates 10 hours per day and has developed its own in-house capacity to intervene in crises around the clock after normal business hours. AFH has learned that increasing business hours has helped our community partners such as landlords be able to contact case managers with clients concerns after normal business hours and we are able to assist in resolving the concern without waiting until the next business day. AFH has also learned that this practice has also assisted with housing retention and better relationships with stakeholders.

How does your agency outwardly demonstrate your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the programs and services you provide? 

American Family Housing is committed to ensuring that our programs are accessible to the community we serve, and this means we must be inclusive, equitable, and diverse in who we are in the AFH community. We have a diverse staff that includes a multi-lingual team of housing navigators, service coordinators, and case managers that serves Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, and English-speaking populations in their languages of choice. AFH has case workers who can serve as peers to our members and who have similar life experiences to our members. Having experienced a lot of growth during the last few years, AFH is now working to unpack and identify areas of need and strength within its organizational structure, by engaging OC Human Relations to conduct a series of workshops and processing circles, supporting American Family Housing staff and our board of directors in exploring of topics around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

What is your one sentence for how your agency visions ending family homelessness? 

Let’s do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to end homelessness.

To learn more about our member, American Family Housing, visit: https://afhusa.org/https://www.pohoc.org/