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Graphic Courtesy of ACLAMO.
ACLAMO has recieved a $1.25 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund to address challenges of homelessness in underserved and marginalized communities. Graphic Courtesy of ACLAMO.

ACLAMO receives $1.25 million grant to address homelessness for Montgomery County Area families

The award money comes from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund, which works to provide shelter for children and families in need.

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ACLAMO recently received a large grant worth $1.25 million from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund to aid its work providing creative housing solutions for Latino and other underserved communities in Montgomery County.

The one-time grant will allow ACLAMO to address racial disparities by providing equitable access to housing resources. 

The funds will help support ACLAMO’s existing bilingual and bicultural Housing Program Initiatives to divert families with small children from entering shelters or becoming unsheltered; identify and reach unsheltered families and connect them to safety; re-house families experiencing homelessness; provide high quality, low-barrier shelter through case management; and connect families to critical wraparound services. 

According to a 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, about 23% of all people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. identify as Hispanic or Latino. The proportion of Hispanic and Latino people staying in sheltered and unsheltered locations are similar at 22% and 24%, respectively. 

These numbers present an overrepresentation of Latinos experiencing homelessness, compared to the national Latino population, which is about 18%. 

"Homelessness disproportionately affects our Latino community due to factors like housing affordability, wage gaps, overcrowded homes and substandard housing conditions which ultimately leads to unstable housing. Many of our families are also rent burdened, paying more than 30% of their income towards rent,” said Nelly Jimenez-Arevalo, CEO and executive director of ACLAMO.

She added that ACLAMO’s team brings a trauma-informed and strength-based approach that aims to establish trust with the family and their small children and meet them where they are without judgment. 

Caitlyn Handlin, business development and public affairs manager at ACLAMO, noted that the boroughs of Norristown, Pottstown and surrounding areas fall between the 78th to 98th percentiles on the emergency rental assistance priority index, according to the Urban Institute in April 2021. 

"Our housing programs in partnership with our own social services department, assist families in identifying accessible housing through negotiations with landlords or with the family’s informal network to identify co-housing options," she said. 

Founded in 1977, ACLAMO provides educational programs, social services, and access to health and wellness programs to Latinos and other community members in Montgomery County and surrounding areas to empower them to fully achieve their life potential.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the Latino population in Montgomery County increased by 31.4% since 2010, bringing the Latino population in the area to 20.5% 

ACLAMO was one of 32 organizations across the country to be awarded a grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund, which this year issued a total of $96.2 million in grants.

Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder and executive chair Jeff Bezos, the Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. 

Since its founding, the Day 1 Families Fund has issued 130 grants totaling more than $398 million to organizations around the country working to combat homelessness and help families get housing support and stability.

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