Partnership, Progress, Prevention

Home for Good has led a successful response to COVID-19 and is a reliable, trusted source of relief for many. We are taking this opportunity to share the COVID-19 response, the extensive need this virus has revealed and caused, and the proactive plan to meet that growing need.

Over the last few months, we witnessed the disruption caused by the Coronavirus. It has been not only a health crisis but also an economic crisis. Thanks to the support of organizations like United Way and the Community Foundation, Home for Good was able to immediately respond to the community’s needs and lead initiatives that are guiding our most vulnerable citizens. 

Because of the tireless, collaborative work of Home for Good and our partner agencies, homelessness has decreased significantly over the years. In 2016, the By Name List of those experiencing homelessness was a high of 282. In 2019, the average was down to 110 people. And as of March 6, 2020, there were 94 people experiencing homelessness on the By Name List. Five years ago, we wanted to tackle Veteran homelessness. Today, there are 4 Veterans experiencing homelessness on the By Name List; they have turned down services offered. 

If the number of individuals becoming homeless is declining, why is Home for Good invested in leading the way in the recovery effort? Because we know the factors that precede struggle and can result in homelessness. Before the outbreak, anywhere from 50% to 75% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck with very little savings. Combine that with the job market we are currently facing, adversity is likely. Home for Good is committed to creating systems and programs now that prevent or at least minimize the results this virus may have on our community.

We can also see the increase in need through 2-1-1 reports. 2-1-1 calls and inquiries have increased significantly over the last two months. As those individuals and families move through the coordinated entry process, we take that time to assess their specific needs and tailor the referrals they receive. The coordinated entry process also allows an opportunity to anticipate future needs and a chance to insert prevention systems.

We are assessing the coordinated entry and referral processes as well as available programs to ensure we meet all our clients’ needs and that no one falls through the cracks. Because many people accessing these resources are doing so for the first time, the process can seem overwhelming. We are creating systems that help them navigate their way with little impediment. Our assessment has shown gaps in services that we are now taking the opportunity to remedy. The evaluation is ongoing and is providing valuable insight for improvement.

A positive outcome we have seen is connecting a population of individuals experiencing homelessness with services they were not involved with previously due to personal preferences. People who have been experiencing homelessness for years that did not necessarily want to accept help are now seeking shelter and, as a result, are utilizing wrap-around services that will help them understand they deserve a better living circumstance.

The most crucial aspect of our efforts is to ensure we treat our neighbors that are accessing resources as deserving citizens. At the core of Home for Good is the mission to engage with each individual or family, discover their exact needs, and take advantage of the collaborative system of programs we have in place.

We see the factors leading to homelessness now and can anticipate a growing need for services and programs. Our goal is to strengthen existing programs and enact other mitigating, preventative services. Home for Good has been working to prepare these systems of prevention for current and future issues. Programs, such as eviction prevention, will play a pivotal part in the community’s recovery. Home for Good is here to lead the collaboration critical to ensuring housing for all. We are in this together.

Make a donation to Home for Good today.

Posted by Lauren Lynn in Featured

Leading the Way

Home for Good – Trusted, Effective Leader and Organizer

The Coronavirus has caused disruption and destruction to what was once our normal. It has been not only a health crisis but also an economic crisis. Thanks to the support of organizations like United Way and the Community Foundation, Home for Good was able to immediately respond to the community’s need and lead the initiatives that are guiding our most vulnerable citizens. 

Due to our strong Continuum of Care (COC), support of community organizations, and sound leadership, Home for Good was able to set up an Emergency Shelter in partnership with SafeHouse Ministries

This shelter provides accommodation to an average of 30 clients per night. It adheres to distancing and other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines developed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Client information is also recorded in the Coordinated Entry System to ensure the process of securing permanent housing and wrap-around services may begin. Home for Good applied for and received $10,000 from the Coronavirus Response Fund to staff the shelter and assist with supplies.

Proactive measures are critical components to ensuring safe environments for clients and staff. Home for Good directed the effort to adopt CDC screening guidelines among all service providers with appropriate referrals for further screening, medical care, and isolation as needed. Home for Good assisted SafeHouse with protocols and coordination with the Department of Public Health for their isolation facilities.   

The COVID-19 Screening Tool implementation by Home for Good was one of a few models used by software developer Eccovia Solutions for the tool installed in all updates to their Client Track software, making Home for Good a national leader in proactive measures.

Home for Good has led the effort to conduct outreach to those experiencing homelessness to inform, screen, provide essentials, and refer to programs as appropriate. Efforts have become more and more difficult as the state-funded programs assisting in the effort announced they would not conduct outreach in areas known to be frequented by the unsheltered homeless. Nevertheless, Home for Good continues to do its part in providing services to our vulnerable neighbors.

Home for Good is partnering with the Columbus 2020 Census Task Force. In this role, Home for Good is assisting in the development and processes to reach the Hard to Count (HTC) populations, including those experiencing homelessness.

Home for Good is the acting liaison between local government and the Governor’s office as well as between service providers, Department of Public Health, and Emergency Management Agency. 

Home for Good is in regular communication with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) technical advisors regarding funding, data collection, data reporting, and information dissemination.

The past months have been difficult, testing our resolve, and revealing great need in our community. Now is the time to support Home for Good, a trusted, effective organization that is leading our area in response to the virus. Moving through this crisis, we expect the number of people in need to grow as a result of Coronavirus. Home for Good will be here to guide essential programs in the recovery. We are in this together.

Make a donation to Home for Good today.

Posted by Lauren Lynn in Featured

Thank you

Thank you.

We are thankful for our donors. You are providing funding for programs that are not only vital to the people served but essential to the recovery of our community. Thank you. 

We are grateful to those that have donated to the Coronavirus Response Fund. Because of you, our neighbors can shelter in place with peace of mind that they can keep the lights on, have enough food, and feel safe. Thank you. 

We are thankful for our staff and Partner Agencies. Your tireless work is crucial to the Chattahoochee Valley’s health and well-being. Because of your commitment, children received meals, citizens experiencing homelessness have shelter, community members secured much needed medical assistance, just to name a few. The list is long with examples of service and continues to show the importance of our programs. Thank you. 

We are grateful for our volunteers. Without volunteers, very little of this work would have been possible. Your dedication to each other and the valley brings hope to all of us. You are the lifeblood and soul of our community. Thank you. 

The response of our community to this unprecedented crisis has been overwhelming. While we face the somber reality of COVID-19 we can rest assured that we are in this together, supporting each other, sharing the weight of caring, and ensuring our community is well taken care of. Thank you to you all.

Posted by Lauren Lynn in Featured

We Are All In This Together

As the near-constant updates to the current situation roll in, we are incredibly hopeful after witnessing our community come together for each other. As Muscogee County closed its doors for education, staff and volunteers still showed up to make sure all our students received a meal as they would normally. Read more here. Many people experience food insecurity. Feeding the Valley is providing mobile pantries allowing clients to drive up and have food delivered to them. Read more here. Two Men and a Truck jumped into action to deliver hospital equipment. Read more here. And many other companies are promising to help, like Alabama Power Foundation’s pledge of $1 million to relief efforts. Read more here. We are grateful for our partners in our community, heeding the call to support one another. 

Collaboration across organizations and agencies is key under normal circumstances to ensure a healthy, strong community. Under stress and times of crisis, it is vital. Fortunately, the Continuum of Care has been an established entity in the Chattahoochee Valley for many years. The agencies involved care deeply about the valley and have committed to keeping each other updated, informed, and supported.

Another great resource well-established is 2-1-1. Upon celebrating its 5th year, specialists at 2-1-1 answered almost 34,000 phone calls and given over 100,000 referrals. Text your zip code to 898-211 or visit 211uwcv.org to connect to resources.

With our excellent relationships, we are collecting community resource updates. This list is a living document that can be found on our website

Because of the great success accomplished, our own Pat Frey, Executive Director of Home for Good, was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force. This collaborative effort will ensure adequate shelter, resources, and care for vulnerable populations in Georgia.

And another collaborative effort is with our friends at Community Foundation. Together, United Way and Community Foundation developed the Coronavirus Response Fund to provide flexible resources to organizations in the area impacted by the coronavirus.   

As more people come forward with needs, we are positioned to act quickly because of our relationships and established collaborative efforts. Go team! 

What can you do? Stay home as much as possible and wash your hands and your phone. If you can donate, please consider the Coronavirus Response Fund. Text your zip code to 898-211 to connect to resources. Bookmark the Community Resource Updates. And finally, take a moment to thank the agencies, organizations, leadership, and volunteers that are taking action for our community. We are all in this together. 

Posted by Lauren Lynn in Featured

Kindness Matters

Image text: How will you “make your mark”?
I will make my mark by inviting homeless people in to my home, find the adults a job, find the children a school, and here is how I am going to do it: Step 1: Find homeless people. I will go to a homeless shelter and pick up a few people and put them in the car. Step 2: Take people to my house. Take the people to my house. Step 3: Have dinner with people. We will have veggie soup. A good dinner for homeless people. Step 4: Jobs. I ask 2 adults what they wanted to be. They both said they wanted to be a nurse. Step 5: I ask the children if they had gone to school and they said no. So I sent them to school. I will repeat over and over. -Jackson

This artwork was recently shared with United Way’s Home for Good. Jackson attends elementary school in the Chattahoochee Valley. He reminds us that kindness matters, especially to the most vulnerable. His simple plan to help the homeless shows how “making your mark” in the world is all about helping others.  

Jackson’s plan points out we can all play a part in ending homelessness; we can start by being kind. People experiencing homelessness can often feel invisible. Kindness is free. It doesn’t cost anything to be considerate and thoughtful. During this challenging time, a simple smile or even a hello can remind someone they are seen and respected.  

Kindness is treating those around you with compassion, concern, and acceptance. It allows us to create meaningful connections and strengthens bonds. Kindness is practicing empathy. It is opening our eyes to the needs of others. This is what truly creates a community.    

What can you do? Practice acts of kindness and begin by being kind to yourself. Get enough rest, wash your hands, reframe thoughts to positive ones. Social distancing that has been recommended recently can cause loneliness. Practice kindness toward others by checking in on your neighbors. Remember that small acts of kindness make a significant impact, especially to our most vulnerable and at-risk citizens.   

Posted by Lauren Lynn in Blog, Featured