A Church-Based Approach to Ending Family Homelessness

New Image, New Language: Same High Quality Services

BOH-Inforgraphic-3-WAY-STREET-small-with-words-GIFIn times of change, it is important to give careful thought to our Bridge of Hope brand.  We want all of us to feel increasingly confident in our mission and our ability to speak confidently about that mission.  How we talk about and present our mission and model are important.  The consistent identity of our organization helps to maintain integrity and keep our message strong.

Language to use:  Neighboring Volunteers, Neighboring Family or family facing homelessness, Neighborhood Resource Specialist/Case Manager, Bridge of Hope Neighborhood (all 3 partners)

Examples of language not to use:  Neighbors (unless referring to all three partners in the 3-way partnership), Neighboring Groups, Social Worker, Participant (fine internal language but not strong for external communication).

In these early days of rolling out this new language, a consistent branded message, across all of our network, will help push the Bridge of Hope message and brand forward. 

We are excited to share with you the all new images for our three-way partnership! Top staff in each location have already received these images ready for use.  We love the bright colors and how the designs clearly portray each of the partners.  We invite you to begin using these new images as you implement the new language and program changes. 

We also want to highlight the changes in our language.  Our network is embracing the new Neighboring language and beginning to introduce and use it in a variety of ways.  Included below are the key terms for the Bridge of Hope program elements and partners going forward. A reminder here that branding is important. This is not suggested language. This is our new network language and now officially part of our identity standards (which will be updated soon).  So, for example, Neighboring Volunteers is how we will refer to what are currently mentoring groups.  You might also refer to them as a group of Neighboring Volunteers.  But these are not “Neighboring Groups.”    

This standard language assures consistency throughout the network for our key components. Again, the clear identity of Bridge of Hope is important because it helps maintain integrity and a consistent image with families we serve, church partners, donors, the general public, employees, volunteers and board members.


Bridge of Hope Neighborhood – A three-way partnership between a Neighboring Family, a group of Neighboring Volunteers, and a Bridge of Hope Neighborhood Resource Specialist/Case Manager with the purpose of ending and preventing homelessness by building social capital and providing intensive, holistic services.

Christian Faith Communities – churches, community Bible Studies, house churches and similar gatherings of followers of Jesus.

Locations – Bridge of Hope programs in the Bridge of Hope network.  This includes Bridge of Hope Affiliates, Program Sites, and Coordinating Agencies.  

Neighborhood Launch – The event held when the Bridge of Hope Neighboring Volunteers and Neighboring Family meet for the first time, through a celebration with food and a festive atmosphere, facilitated by the Neighborhood Resource Specialist/Case Manager (or other program staff person).  The Neighborhood Launch is used to designate the official start date of Bridge of Hope for a Neighboring Family.

Neighboring – the act of loving, encouraging and supporting a Family facing homelessness. 

Neighboring Family or Family or family facing homelessness– a woman and her children (under age 18) experiencing or at risk of homelessness, or other family structure as discerned by individual Bridge of Hope locations, who are selected and agree to participate in Bridge of Hope. 

Neighborhood Resource Specialist/Case Manager – a professionally trained and experienced social worker, employed by each Bridge of Hope location, to provide intensive case management/training/support services to each Bridge of Hope Neighborhood. Bridge of Hope Neighborhood Resource Specialists/Case Managers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in Social Work or a bachelor’s degree in a similar field with at least 3 years of case management experience. 

Bridge of Hope Neighboring Training – the initial 5 hour training that all Neighboring Volunteers complete at the same time as other Neighboring Volunteers in their Neighborhood.  The training is facilitated by the Neighborhood Resource Specialist/Case Manager or other designated Bridge of Hope staff and is completed prior to the Neighborhood Launch.  It is accompanied by a Facilitator’s Guide to Neighboring Training (train-the-trainer) and Loving Your Neighbor: A Guide to Neighboring Families Facing Homelessness (previously the Mentors Resource Guide)

Neighboring Volunteers – 6 to 10 individuals from within one or two Christian Faith Communities who together agree to serve as part of a Bridge of Hope Neighborhood and complete the required training.  Neighboring Volunteers provide tangible supports, social capital/networking and encouragement for Families facing homelessness. 

Neighborhood Gathering – a regularly scheduled gathering of a Bridge of Hope Neighborhood, held for the purpose of ongoing training, socializing, celebration and/or relationship building.  Neighborhood Gatherings may or may not include the Neighborhood Resource Specialist/Case Manager.

Neighbors – includes and describes any and all members of the Neighborhood – the Neighboring Family, the Neighboring Volunteers, and the Neighborhood Resource Specialist/Case Manager.

Social capital – the networks of support possessed by each person in the Neighborhood.  Neighboring Volunteers bring networks of support, or social capital, that they can access on behalf of Neighboring Families.  Neighborhood Resource Specialists bring knowledge of community resources that they can access on behalf of the Neighboring Families.  Neighboring Families may lack these support networks or may have exhausted their support networks.  They may have support networks that can be enhanced by building their social capital further.  A primary goal of the Neighborhood relationships is to build social capital for Neighboring Families.  This social capital and networking expands the ability of the Neighboring Family to access resources in their community, from housing to employment to childcare and beyond.  Social capital can be built through social media (post – “A friend who just received a certificate in Digital Imaging is looking for employment.  Message me if you know of any opportunities.”), through word of mouth or through family/church connections.