The Action Center’s mission is to provide an immediate response to basic human needs and promote pathways to self-sufficiency. This is a two-fold mission and we are working hard to expand our capabilities and programs to best serve the ever-growing needs in our community.
Depth of Need, Depth of Service
As the needs of our community evolve, The Action Center strives to continually develop and broaden the scope of its programs to meet those ever-growing needs. Today, we see more and more of our neighbors seeking help for the first time, telling us that they have never been in this situation before, and never dreamed of having to ask for help.
Many clients explain that they used to be donors or volunteers, and they now find themselves on the other side of the counter. Others struggle through tumultuous situations that have compounded even further – becoming a crisis – and with tears in their eyes; they come to the front door and ask for help. Although the Action Center is a safe and welcoming environment and each client is met with dignity and respect, it can be a scary place for a person who does not know how to navigate these uncharted waters.
Today, it is important for the Action Center to focus on formalizing self-sufficiency programming. Our mission is two-fold. It is to both provide an immediate response to basic human needs and also to promote pathways to self-sufficiency. The Action Center is best known for its ability to meet the first half of the mission by providing food, clothing, shelter and more. The second half of the mission is so very critical to clients’ continued success.
As programming continues to evolve, the client services team will transition into a two-tiered counseling structure. The first tier will continue to be drop-in based, providing clients with a holistic assessment. This will explore areas such as housing, employment, medical, mental health and other resources. The second tier will provide clients with intensive, wrap-around case management. Through scheduled appointments, clients will meet with an assigned counselor to develop and move through a self-sufficiency plan. The assessment and case management tools will determine outcomes – helping us to state our case to funders. These formalized case management tools will also be implemented in the shelter program.
Throughout all program areas, the Action Center will continue to evolve, assess and develop, while firmly remaining client-centered. “We will continue to meet clients where they are and move in a direction and at a pace that best suits their vision in life,” said Brooke DeGroat, Director of Program Services. “We will stay true to our mission and steadfast in honoring each and every client’s self-determination. It is our vision that each client is provided with an opportunity for a holistic assessment and wrap-around services to give them a supportive hand-up in their pursuit of self-sufficiency.”
The Basics and Beyond
Beyond basic human needs like a five-day supply of food, a bag of clothing or a night of shelter lies the journey toward self-sufficient living. The Action Center recently developed two new programs that will offer clients a hand-up on this journey and greatly improve their ability to gain and maintain self-sufficiency.
One is the Mediation Program through Tenant/Landlord Counseling (TLC) services. On average, the TLC Helpline receives 2,000 calls each year. Many call because they are facing a potential housing crisis. To meet this need and prevent the loss of housing, the Action Center launched the Mediation program which is often the only hope a tenant has when facing eviction. The tenant and landlord are guided through the process by a trained mediator to find amicable conditions so both parties can come to agreeable terms. For individuals who have fragile finances and would otherwise end up homeless, this free service is a life-saver. Thus far, 25 mediations have been successful in allowing clients to maintain their housing and self-sufficiency.
Shelter clients face similar hurdles and need comparable intervention. The Shelter Aftercare program will connect shelter clients with support, education, community partners and services and extended case management after they have moved into stable housing. A case manager will facilitate biweekly groups of shelter graduates to provide social and emotional support, further develop their life-skills and ensure that clients are connected to necessary resources. This allows individuals and families to live independently, yet maintain long-term interactions with the Action Center, which they have come to know and trust – breaking the cycle of homelessness.
With programs like this in place, the Action Center can continue to not only set the foundation, but also assemble the pathways to self-sufficiency for the more than 28,000 individuals who seek services annually.
If you have any questions about our services please call 303-237-7704.