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Back on My Feet

Running to Combat Homelessness

ONE MILE AT A TIME

Back on My Feet is redefining the morning jog to help individuals rise out of homelessness. They're an entire support system for members—a resource that’s often missing in other homeless services. Since their beginning in 2007 at a Philadelphia shelter, thousands of people have benefitted.

The first step: commitment. The program recruits members at homeless and residential facilities to commit to a morning run with staff and
volunteers, three days a week. Once a member achieves 90% attendance over 30 days, Back on My Feet helps them develop a personal roadmap to independence—promoting their personal and professional development with career readiness, financial literacy, and skills training courses. They also work with partner organizations to help members find housing.

The program’s success lies in the routine and relationships built from a simple, consistent morning run—helping members regain a sense of normalcy and build hope for the future. With over 5000 members helped to date, Back on My Feet is going the distance to end homelessness.
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Katy
    Katy

    Hi, I’m the CEO of Back on My Feet, the national non-profit that combats homelessness through the power of running, community support and essential employment and housing resources. I’m excited to share our story here on The Grommet and look forward to sharing more about the important work we do.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia – Grommet Team
    7/1/2016 11:55 AM

    How is Back on My Feet different from other homeless service organizations? What is the organization's’ "secret sauce” to success?

  • Katy
    Katy – Special Guest
    7/1/2016 11:57 AM

    At Back on My Feet, we combat homelessness through the power of running, community support and by providing essential employment and housing resources. Our unique running-based model demonstrates that if you first restore confidence, strength, and self-esteem, individuals are better equipped to tackle the road ahead and move toward jobs, homes, and new lives. We treat our members as equals. If you’ve spent any time living in a world where you’re routinely referred to as a bum or ignored when begging on the street, how are you ever supposed to believe in yourself? This is why we refer to individuals experiencing homelessness as accountable, responsible, determined, member, team captain, marathoner and friend. It truly makes a difference.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia – Grommet Team
    7/1/2016 11:55 AM

    What are some reactions when members are asked to commit to an early morning run? How do you measure members' success?

  • Katy
    Katy – Special Guest
    7/1/2016 11:57 AM

    There is definitely some hesitation at first, but members understand the community they join once they strap on the running (or walking) shoes we provide them. It’s definitely not easy however, we’re proud that more than 90% of the members who find employment with our support remain employed.

    We don’t measure our program’s success only by the health impact of miles run, but also by how many individuals obtain education, employment, and housing. To date, we have served more than 6,000 individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness and helped them obtain more than 4,000 jobs and homes throughout our 11 chapters from coast-to-coast.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia – Grommet Team
    7/1/2016 11:56 AM

    How have you seen BoMF transforming the cities that it currently operates in?

  • Katy
    Katy – Special Guest
    7/1/2016 11:58 AM

    In an overall economic impact study of our program, which has been validated by an external consulting firm, demonstrates that for every $1 invested in Back on My Feet, $2.50 goes back into the economy. This includes tens of millions of dollars in savings to the healthcare system, shelter system and incarceration costs.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia – Grommet Team
    7/1/2016 11:56 AM

    What are some unexpected rewards and challenges that you have encountered leading/working at BoMF?

  • Katy
    Katy – Special Guest
    7/1/2016 11:58 AM

    Tackling the issue of homelessness has its challenges. However, we focus on the rewards and this isn’t a job to us. This is a passion and a mission. Our members exhibit sheer dedication to the program – despite everything they’ve been through. This is not a handout, but a hand up and every one of them works hard to achieve their dreams. Their dedication is inspiring to us.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia – Grommet Team
    7/1/2016 11:56 AM

    Where do you see BoMF going in the future?

  • Katy
    Katy – Special Guest
    7/1/2016 11:58 AM

    In the fall, Back on My Feet will launch in San Francisco. We believe this is the city that needs the most help right now. With an estimated 6,600 people without a permanent home, we are gearing up, lacing up our running shoes, and preparing to help San Francisco's homeless community.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

  • As featured in:

  • Today Show
  • Real Simple
  • The New York Times
  • Fortune
  • Inc Magazine