The CARES was established in 1983 to assist stranded travelers. Prior to that, churches helped as best they could. Downtown Churches United, working with the United Way, other agencies and community members created CARES. The first executive director carried a pager and put clients up in motels until bus tickets could be provided.
A local church offered its rectory as a shelter site. The community assisted in preparing the building. It quickly became evident that there was a need for emergency shelter for the homeless in the area.
In December 1996, the agency closed its rectory site and moved all the women and children to its current Halifax Street site and the agency's primary focus shifted to emergency shelter to women and children and survivors of domestic violence.
Services expanded. Each child entering the shelter is assessed. School-age children are assisted in returning to the classroom with minimal loss of school days. If the parent requests, they arrange for the child to continue in their classroom of origin. CARES opened its Service Center to provide food, clothing, personal hygiene and household items at no charge. A resource center was opened to provide job training skills. Post-shelter Supports and Intervention (PSI) was added that provides on-going case management to clients who have left the shelter for up to one year. This gives them the opportunity for hands-on support that is geared specifically towards their needs, helps them build the networks and access the resources which will help them stabilize.
The overarching goal of the CARES’ programs is to enable individuals and families to resume or achieve their highest possible level of independent living. As the only emergency shelter for women and children and those affected by domestic violence in the Tri-Cities region, CARES strives to provide services and foster collaborations that address the needs and challenges of the neediest populations in the Crater Region and surrounding districts.
DISTRICT 19 CSB provides screenings to the intellectually disabled clients and substance-abusing consumers as requested by CARES. Crisis Intervention service is provided. THE JAMES HOUSE collaborates with CARES in the provision of CARES residents who have experienced sexual or domestic violence. Services are often provided on site at CARES. The CARES LANDLORD ALLIANCE, a consortium of 25 landlords in Petersburg who help move clients into permanent housing by waiving application fees and background checks. The Alliance has increased the availability of affordable housing in a short turnaround time. FLAGLER HOUSE/St. Joseph’s Villa provides security deposits and rental assistance for eligible CARES clients. The PETERSBURG VICTIM/WITNESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM provides information and makes referrals to domestic violence victims and the homeless.
The CARES Shelter is a 20-bed facility and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Homeless women or homeless women with children are either referred to the shelter by another agency or are walk-ins. Among these may be veterans or disabled individuals. The CARES Shelter provides a gateway program for women in a housing crisis, assuring a safe environment around which to recover and regain independent living. Once they are safely housed in the shelter, CARES is then able to deliver the services need to get back on their feet and achieve permanent housing. The services and supports that will be delivered through this grant include:
· During the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, CARES provided 5,283 nights of shelter to 211 women and 132 children.
· All of those who entered the shelter were linked to supportive services and all school-aged children received comprehensive assessments.
· Of those served, 59% achieved permanent housing in their own apartment, either with or without subsidy. Another 25% found temporary housing with family or friends.
The CARES’ Service Center located on Washington Street provided supplemental food, clothing, personal hygiene and household items to low-income community members who are at risk of homelessness, and most often have nowhere else to turn for such support. Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, the Food Pantry assisted an average of 528 seniors, children and adults each month. The Clothes Closet assisted an average of 345 community residents each month.
While they might achieve permanent housing, staff found that left on their own, some families would fail and end up back in the shelter. Staff developed PSI to allow the social worker to continue to provide case management for a year after they moved into their own housing. Staff found that families who maintained PSI for a year were more likely to remain housed. PSI is the agency’s adaptation of the Housing First Initiative which provides rapid rehousing followed by intense case management and wrap around services.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Like most nonprofits, CARES needs to improve its cash flow. While it is fortunate to have its income spread over a wide number of sources, the growth it has experienced in improved and expanded services and increased demand has resulted a greater need to expand our revenue base.
CARES' grants manager is working to expand overall program and organization funding. The Executive Director and the Board of Directors work closely together to implement activities outlined in the agency’s strategic plan, and meet fundraising and marketing goals for FY17. CARES leverages community resources by developing strong ties with the local business community, and has been successful in securing ongoing in-kind donations from Boar’s Head, Walmart and Amazon to provide food, clothing and home supplies for its clients
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