Self-Sufficiency Advocates for Individual Life Skills (SAIL)

by Upper Des Moines Opportunity (UDMO)

Region 7 · Graettinger, IA
A senior adult woman reading a book


Self-Sufficiency Advocates for Individual Life Skills (SAIL) was created in 2016. The program helps elderly clients to maintain independence and remain in their homes as long as possible. Participation in SAIL is voluntary for individuals and families receiving CSBG at or below 125% poverty level. Eligible families are identified and referred through Head Start, FaDSS, KIDS, other community organizations, or self-referral. Utilizing a strength-based approach, the program is delivered to families through home visits by certified Family Development Specialists. Core services include assessment and screening, individual & family-driven goal setting, referrals to community resources and supports, financial literacy, and advocacy and self-empowerment.

Local Need Addressed

The SAIL design arose out of discussion to provide a form of service similarly modeled from the Family Development and Self Sufficiency (FaDSS) program, but using the flexibility of the CSBG program requirements.

  • The focus was to meet a similar population of clients who didn’t necessarily qualify for promised jobs and FaDSS yet wanted to secure their goals towards self-sufficiency, ultimately providing developmental services to individuals and families who are at risk of long-term welfare dependency.
  • The need is determined by previous customer surveys indicating the desire to participate in life skills services. Each program participant is given flexibility in designing their goals that best respond to the unique needs of their family/household.

Transformative Impact


Addresses individual/family needs and one or more conditions of poverty


Achieves program goals through strategic activities and clearly defined and measurable goals

Evidence-Based Outcomes


Households increased nutritional skills


Homeless households obtained safe temporary shelter


Households maintained safe and affordable housing for 90 days


Households achieved and maintained ability to meet basic needs for 90 days

SAIL was developed from the FaDSS program standards which is an established evidence based program.  SAIL collects quantitative and qualitative data on each family receiving services.  Service data collected and tracked includes: demographics, assessments and screenings, home visits, goal setting, and family supports. The UDMO Outreach staff and administrative staff frequently review and analyze the service data and use the information to make program adjustments as necessary.

Customer Voice

Like with our CSBG and FaDSS customers, SAIL participants are asked to voluntarily contribute their satisfaction with the services they receive.  As with all of our services, reports of program participation are provided to the board.

Equity Lens

The SAIL program does collect, track, and report demographic data on families served and does have goals to address racial/ethnic equity, but does not conduct a specific analysis on the program impacts by racial/ethnic groups.



Upper Des Moines Opportunity (UDMO)

101 Robins Street
P.O. Box 519
Graettinger, IA 51342

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