Staff Spotlight: Mikayla Francois

Realistic and sustainable solutions for families facing homelessness 

Mikayla Francois, Program Manager of FamilyAid Boston’s Housing and Prevention programs, describes her job as “helping families help themselves.” A Boston native, Mikayla witnessed firsthand the negative effect a lack of affordable housing can have on a community. When she joined FamilyAid Boston eight years ago as a case manager in our Community Based Shelter Program, her goal was simple: to give back to her community and provide families with the assistance they need to reach stability. 

Today, Mikayla works with families to transition from shelter to housing. “FamilyAid Boston has a housing first model,” she explains. “The goal is not just to get families into housing, but to work with them to sustain their housing over the long-term. The goal is always sustainability.”

Mikayla knows that the path from shelter to sustainable affordable housing means different things for each family. She works with her team to create unique and realistic solutions for each family that comes through the door. She explains, “We start where the family is and then work up from there. We work with the families to increase their employment, work on their budget, increase their savings, find affordable childcare, and transportation. The families do the work; we provide the resources and helping hand that they need to move out of shelter and into stable housing.”

Over her eight years with FamilyAid Boston, Mikayla has had many memorable interactions with families, but there is one family in particular who stands out in her mind: “I worked with Bernard*, a single dad, who had to obtain full custody of his son due to safety concerns with the biological mom. He was not the primary caretaker so taking on this full time role was a challenge for him.” Mikayla spent about two years working with Bernard through these challenges and helped him to cope with the stigma associated with being a single dad in the shelter system. When Mikayla moved on to her current role at FamilyAid Boston, Bernard transitioned to a new case manager, but he never forgot what Mikayla did for him. One day, she got a call from him to let her know he had secured a new apartment, and to thank her for all the support she provided him throughout his time in the shelter system. “This work is not done for accolades but when a family comes back to thank you, it one of the greatest feelings to know you were able to help support them towards their journey of success.”

*Name changed for anonymity

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