Mission: Incarnation House prepares homeless and housing insecure youth for life success by providing access to educational, emotional, and other support services
Now its own 501(c) 3 organization, Incarnation House was started in 2012 when the Church of the Incarnation, in conjunction with DISD created a Drop-in Friday program at North Dallas High School for students homeless or in unstable housing situations. The need and the temporal limitations of the Drop-in program quickly illustrated potential for the growth and development of a much broader program, connecting these students with much-needed resources to help break the cycle of poverty. Incarnation House was formed in December of 2014 and opened its newly renovated center on January 6, 2016.
Dallas County has the highest rate in the state with 29% of its youth living below the poverty line. Living situations for these families range from motels, shelters, doubling and tripling up, to Section 8 and HUD housing. For all of these families, housing insecurity is cause for much stress and concern. Many of these families are one paycheck, sickness, or accident away from being on the street and often times fall through the cracks due to a lack of being identified. According to Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, homeless families are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population comprising nearly forty percent of the total homeless.
At North Dallas High School 94% of the students are economically disadvantaged and attend a school that, according to Children at Risk’s 2018 school ranking report, is ranked 187 out of 223 high schools in North Texas with an “F” rating, and a 71 percent graduation rate. Persistent childhood poverty, residential instability/homelessness and educational poverty (attending institutions with learning disparities) are factors that all but guarantee academic struggles and generational poverty. Most of the students attending North Dallas High School and its feeder schools are facing all of these factors.
Incarnation House offers a safe place for these teenagers to come after school, build relationships with caring adults and peers, and have access to services they otherwise would not. Homelessness is more than a lack of housing and we are dedicated to closing the opportunity gap by ensuring these youth have access to academically enriching activities, as well as social and emotional support. With a team-driven approach, staff, volunteers, and over 20 nonprofit community partners collaborate to deliver the following services: case management, counseling, medical, life skills, character building, social/emotional learning, educational and vocational support, as well as enrichment activities.
The students at Incarnation House learn, explore, and experience in ways that facilitate growth and change. These experiences are helping to prepare them for future life success. The focus is to assist our students in acquiring living wage jobs through which they can support a family. For some of our students, this path will include college, junior college, trade school, or the military. Our hope is to permanently end generational poverty and change the course of our student’s lives, putting them on a track to reach their full potential.