Closing Out 2017
Last week, I had dinner with veterans staying in our shelter. The topic of conversation was managing emotions during the holiday season. The societal expectation is that this is a “jolly” time, but the holidays can be an especially challenging time for our guests. Throughout the conversation, veterans kept mentioning how volunteer groups kept their spirits lifted during the holiday season.
I am reminded that one of the cruel side effects of homelessness is often isolation, therefore, one of the tools we use to combat homelessness is connection. Thank you for all you have done in 2017 – from giving your time to your resources – to remind our guests that while the journey out of homelessness is theirs to take, they are not alone.
Through your investment, here are some highlights of 2017:
Continued Focus on Housing: Housing is the solution to homelessness and in 2017 we added to our housing services team. Given the reality of the diminishing stock of affordable housing, we continue embracing housing alternatives, like roommates, building relationships with landlords, and advocating for more affordable housing.
Expansion of Employment Team: This year, we added an employment specialist and two VISTA volunteers to our employment team, as well as expanded our partnership with Goodwill Industries. When our guests increase their income, they increase their housing options.
Addition of Time Out Youth Staff Member: Thanks to a generous donation, Time Out Youth has “loaned” us their housing case manager three days a week to serve young adults in our shelter.
Data Sharing: We began a data-sharing agreement with Urban Ministry Center and Salvation Army Center of Hope to improve collaboration on shared clients.
New Initiatives: We continue to innovate. This year we developed a new intake process and are piloting a new intervention we call “delayed diversion,” an in effort to increase exits to permanent housing and decrease length of stay.
As we turn to 2018, we look forward to what we believe will be a transformational year. We will renovate our Tryon campus, look for specialized opportunities to serve fathers within our shelter, and remain focused on providing safe emergency shelter while working to end homelessness for each man.
Thank you for believing in our work and our guests!