News & Events

Housing and Children First

Children are disproportionately hurt by poverty: it limits their chance to grow up without fear or limitations. So we at UESF are strategic about making sure that our housing-first opportunities reach children and their families. That is why we created our Division of Youth and Family. Our purpose is to work with families who already know what they need to make their lives better. We come in as advocates to help families to get those things. 

We are very excited about our newest initiative at the Alexander K. McClure Elementary School in the Hunting Park neighborhood. UESF family advocates are working with families at The McClure School to increase school success, addressing the challenges of family income, education, employment, community safety, and social supports. As immediate challenges are addressed, families will grow in their ability to make healthy decisions, attain high quality medical care and housing, and manage stress. And in turn, kids will thrive in school and go on to flourish in life. 

The program is part of the Community Schools program of the Office of Children and Families in the Mayor’s Office of the City of Philadelphia. It’s exciting to be partnering with the city and other organizations in our common dream of a poverty-free city. 

We are building on our success with the Family Empowerment Program (FEP), funded by the Siemer Institute for Family Stability through the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. UESF has addressed intergenerational poverty for over 600 families with children in the Philadelphia School District.  UESF continues to add holistic supports to the UESF Division of Youth and Family, such as the United Way’s funded College Savings Account program.  

Division Director Syreeta Stanley puts it this way. “Families have a lot of resilience that never gets seen. Our job is to shine a light on that resilience and help them build on their strengths. What’s going great? Once we have that to build on, it’s ok to say ‘I don’t know what to do’ about paying the rent or getting food or clothes, and then plan ways to address that. Parents who aren’t stressed out about money-related problems are good for kids. So step by step, let’s make sure that family is okay now and then make more plans to help things get even better. Our job is to be a confidant, to provide that space of peace, confidentially. Then through their own resilience they’re making things happen.” 

For more information, contact Syreeta Stanley at, 215.814.6830 or visit UESF’s website at