SAN ANTONIO -

Yvonne Lopez and her family were on the verge of disaster when she knocked on SAMM Ministries' door.

Lopez was pregnant and the home they rented was sold from underneath them.

"We didn't have any money saved because we were living day to day with whatever income we did have. I had no choice but to come here and ask for help," Lopez said.

SAMM Ministries not only gave the family a place to live, but offered classes.

A year and a half later, Lopez is graduating with a career, her husband has a GED and they plan to have a home in the near future.

The key is a program that SAMM Ministries started in 2009, then later received help from the federal government to fund. Homelessness prevention as opposed to just homeless sheltering.

"Emergency shelter is usually 90 days and that's what SAMM Ministries used to do in the past. With this transitional program, a family gets up to two years to work themselves back to self sufficiency," said Navarra Williams, President of SAMM Ministries. The organization says the program has an 85 percent success rate.

"The billboard campaign talks about the 30 years of overcoming homelessness, but also about the 15,000 people we kept in their homes, including 8,000 children with the SAMM Ministries Homeless Prevention program," said Williams.

SAMM Ministries is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has received a top rating on "charity navigator" for the past six years. SAMM Ministries got four stars in the rankings again, giving donors confidence that money at SAMM goes to those who need it most.