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Often Family clients do stay a long time, and kids go on to college, then come back to visit. Family credits this connectedness to its nonjudgmental, person-centered approach in assisting people as they balance and maneuver in their lives. "We're not telling them what to do. We're asking them what they need and helping them to achieve it. That's a big difference," Berg explains. Family staff advocate for clients, too, and have negotiated with landlords to accept incremental payments of the thousands needed for housing deposits, a first step in getting into more permanent housing. "What's remarkable is how empowering it is for people," says Victoria Read, Family's program director for adult case management services. "Nobody's ever told them before that they could make the choice."
"If you think about it, this is just being human," says Altamirano-Segura. "We're just talking about building relationships."