Horizons’ family advocates serve as mentors, coaches, and confidants for Horizons parents as they work towards achieving goals that help move their families out of homelessness. Goals are categorized into five pillars – family stability, well-being, finances, education and training, and employment/career.  

Everyday Horizons’ parents like those pictured above are setting goals and working towards accomplishments in each of the five categories. Read on for how each goal relates to the realities parents are facing and all they’re working toward achieving.  



The Family Stability pillar covers goals in housing, the relationships in the family unit, and support or relationships of extended family.  

Some examples of goals in this pillar include 

  • Spending less than 30% of after-tax income on housing. 
  • Ensuring their child’s needs are fully met so the parent can pursue school or work. 

Achieving Goals in Family Stability – Dominque’s story: 

Dominque was living in shelter for over 2 years and was beyond excited to receive her housing voucher and begin the search for her own place.  

With an infant and two elementary-aged children, Dominique was seeking a clean, well-maintained 3-bedroom apartment in a safe neighborhood close to Boston to maintain the stability of her children’s educational experiences. 

The FA supported Dominique in setting a goal to find an apartment within the given time frame allotted. This included action steps that allowed both FA and mom to debrief on apartment findings and talk through the pros and cons of each option, supporting an informed approach to making a final decision.  

Mom successfully secured an apartment and subsequently worked with her FA to develop follow-up goals to maintain housing through 3 months, 6 months, and then one year. Mom also educated herself on her rights as a tenant during these early months. The achievement of each short-term goal gave Dominique the opportunity to demonstrate success in planning and budgeting to meet short-term living expenses. Each time mom met a milestone, it gave her FA an opportunity to celebrate her success.  



The Well-being pillar covers goals in health – both physical and mental, as well as support networks.  

Some examples of goals in this pillar include: 

  • Seeking mental health support to allow the parent to successfully pursue work opportunities. 
  • Work to create a social support network so the parent does not feel isolated and alone. 

Achieving Goals in Well-being – Nuny’s story: 

Nuny has been a Horizons dad for 2 years and has 2 small children in our center. 

As a single dad raising two kids, he has formed a close connection with his FA and his children’s teaching team. Over the years, Nuny has set many goals in his time at Horizons, particularly in the area of self-care as it is hard to parent well if your mental and physical health is in decline.  

When he first arrived, Nuny was overwhelmed by his role as a single dad but he had a clear vision of the life he wanted for his family. Through multiple building sessions with his FA, Nuny recognized that he wanted to start being more mindful in the way he was taking care of himself and his children. 

He set and completed goals to maintain a healthier daily diet and follow a consistent exercise routine. This led to him to losing a total of 20 pounds, which helped him be more active with his kids and be a better dad. 



The finance pillar covers goals in financial stability, from handling debts, to creating sustainable budgets and building savings.  

Some examples of goals in this pillar include: 

  • Build savings equal to three months’ worth of living expenses. 
  • Address credit issues and build a budget to support ongoing financial health.  

Achieving Goals in Finance – Ari’s story: 

Ari is a mom who was working both a full-time and part-time job when she enrolled her family at Horizons.  

Given her work schedule, it is challenging for Ari to meet with her FA face-to-face but she loves the child/parent support she receives at Horizons. The FA and Ari have worked out a system of communicating by phone and text for follow-ups on goals.  

Occasionally, when time permits, they create space to meet face-to-face to set new goals. Ari’s FA works hard to meet mom when she is on her lunch break for a quick coffee or a short walk, simply so they can connect. Mom has expressed that she finds this level of support from her FA inspiring.  

Ari is interested in building an emergency savings fund so each of her goals has centered around saving a specific dollar amount monthly over 3 months.  

Her FA has also had conversations with Ari about some of our partners who support financial literacy. Most recently, Ari expressed an interest in partnering with a financial coach.  



The education pillar covers goals in educational attainment, including achieving degrees & certifications 

An example of a goal in this pillar: 

  • Achieve a level of post-secondary education or training to secure a job paying enough to support their family. 

Achieving Goals in Education – Pamela’s story: 

Pamela is a Haitian Creole speaking mom with a 3-year-old who has been at Horizons for 6 months.  

Mom has a very strong work ethic and wants to begin building a career. Unfortunately, her English is not very strong which has limited her career opportunities.  

Through her conversations with her FA, she has concluded that an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program would be the best way to build her skills. 

Pamela’s first goal is to complete a level 1 ESOL course.  

Once completed, Pamela will set a follow up goal to complete level 2 and continue until she finishes the program. While in this process, her FA will continue to work with mom on a goal in the Employment pillar that focuses on securing work once her language skills expand.  



The employment pillar covers goals in securing reliable work with sustainable earning levels and career fulfillment. 

An example of a goal in this pillar: 

  • Identify employment opportunities that provide enough income to support ongoing living expenses. 

Achieving Goals in Employment – Carolina’s story: 

Carolina, 31, has had difficulty over the last few years in maintaining consistent employment.  

Her challenges have included: 

  • low pay 
  • challenging schedules 
  • on-the-job challenges 

Carolina is interested in taking steps towards getting a certification in the medical field to open a new career path. However, because employment is an urgent need, her Family Advocate has encouraged her to set a short-term goal of finding a job to help pay for her living expenses.  

Once mom completed the goal of obtaining a job, Carolina’s FA worked with her to set a goal to stay employed for 3 months. 

With job in hand, Carolina now works with her FA to monitor on-the-job progress, brainstorm actionable steps to address issues that arise at work, discuss job challenges, and celebrate each month of employment that passes. 

Now, Carolina and her FA are building an educational plan that fits with her work schedule and allows her to obtain a certification in the medical field. 


Through these goals and personal stories, parents are finding the inner fortitude, clear direction, and motivational support to pursue the life they envision for their families. Horizons’ family advocates help them define the right steps forward, act as accountability coaches, and help parents navigate the steps needed to accomplish all they seek to achieve.