Homelessness Happens*Video by Katie Damien via Vimeo
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN ENDING THE CYCLE OF HOMELESSNESS IN ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA THE FOLLOWING IS A TRAINING VIDEO PREPARED FOR THE VOLUNTEERS OF ROOM IN THE INNA PROGRAM OF HOMEWARD BOUND OF ASHEVILLE APRIL 2013
Who are We? In order for you to understand the passion thatHomeward Bound has for our homeless community andhow we approach the work we do, you need to know a bit more about who we are and what we believe:
MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of Homeward Boundis working with others to end the cycle of homelessness.
Our Vision Statement:We envision a day when the poor and the vulnerable among us will no longer be invisible and ignored but treated with compassion and decency. We envision a day when any homeless person, regardless of psychiatric disabilities, substance abuse problems, medical issues, or financial poverty, can move directly into service-enriched permanent housing and become a productive member of society.
OUR VALUES: We believe in the absolute value and worth of every single human being. We believe that housing is a basic human right, integral to self-worth and dignity. We believe that homelessness is a solvable problem. We believe that all services should be offered with respect, empathy, and in the spirit of hope and recovery. We believe that we are successful as an organization when one individual takes one step forward on the journey home.
Test Your KnowledgeBe honest; How much do you really know abouthomelessness and the people who are experiencing it?Do you want to know more? In order to understand aboutthe community that we serve you need to hear the facts.You will be moved by the facts and realities that you willlearn today. THIS IS YOUR COMMUNITY
Homelessness affectsour whole community:its economy, safety,health, and sense ofwell-being. When we endhomelessness, what wesee is resources freedup to meet other needs,local businesses andtourism faring better,and our neighborsrestored to lives ofwholeness and dignity. Why should I care about homelessness?
Many paths leadto homelessness:Job loss.Mental illness.Death of a familymember.Addiction.Domesticviolence.Medicalemergencies. Why ?
Who ? Who ? Any crisis that we facewithout adequate supportcould render any of UShomeless. Homelessnessknows no boundaries.
FACTSIn Buncombe County, about 500 people experiencehomelessness on any given night, and more than 3,000 peopleexperience it throughout the course of a year. 38% of them areveterans. 11% of them are children. Very few of them havecome to Asheville homeless; 75% used to have housing inBuncombe County before they became homeless, and many ofthem are from this area originally.
Day to Day: Feelings: Reality:Homelessness is often People don’t look you in the eye or treat you with terrifying, exhausting, respect. and dehumanizing. Keeping appointments without transportation.Fearful and susceptible Supplying documents like to hate crime violence, my birth certificate or income verification, when I theft, and assault. don’t have a mailingFrustrated while trying address to receive them at or a safe place to keep to access services. them.
What about those who choose to be homeless? They don’t. It’s that simple. No child wants to be homeless as an adult, and no adult is proud of losing their housing and depending on others to meet his or her basic needs. Sometimes when people become homeless, the only thing they have left is their self-respect, and it’s important to them to assert that they’re not victims but that they’ve instead opted in to their way of life. And sometimes—most times—when people become homeless and remain homeless, it gets hard to see a way out.
No one chooses to. . . . Become entrenched in homelessness, like someone whobecomes ‘institutionalized’ and doesnt know how to navigate theworld outside of an institution. Being homeless requires a skillset that people in housing don’t have: you have to know where tofind food & safe places to sleep, how to survive with almostnothing. Likewise, being housed requires a skill set that peoplewho’ve been homeless for many years may have lost: groceryshopping, paying rent on time, dealing with loud neighbors.Sometimes, when someone’s been homeless for a long time, theymay say they’re choosing it, because they no longer rememberwhat it’s like to be in housing, and they’re scared of the prospect.
What is the solution? SUPPORTIVE HOUSINGPeople become homeless It’s called the Housing because they lose their First model, and it’s a support systems & can’t national best practice and maintain their housing. proven solution; it’s cost- So when we provide effective, sustainable, and housing and put those humane. supports back in place, we solve homelessness, one household at a time.
**Let’s Compare**Homelessness costs: Housing costs:In Asheville, it can cost If we pay for someone’s as much as $23,000 for housing plus the case one person to be management services homeless for one year. to help them overcome Emergency shelter & jail stays, emergency the issues they face, it room & detox visits, costs about $10,000 and other high usage of per person per year. expensive public services..
And not onlydoes it save ourcommunitymoney...it alsoworks!Room In TheInn has had 28clients moveinto housingover the lastthree years, andhas an 94%housingretention rate. IT WORKS!
What exactly is Homeward Bound doing to end homelessness? SIX PROGRAMS . . . .
AHOPE Day CenterAHOPE is often a person’s first entry point to homeless services in Asheville and serves as our initial opportunity to meet clients and engage them in services. A HOPE is the only day shelter in WNC, and in addition to providing desperately-needed basic services every morning, it also hosts community partners in the afternoons, facilitating a deeper level of engagement and better service delivery for clients.
PATHPATH outreaches people who are homeless and mentally ill on the streets, in parks and campsites, and at other community agencies. Through PATH outreach, team members build relationships that allow them to connect clients with crucial mental health care services, as well as basic needs and housing supports.
Women at RiskW@R Women at Risk is an outpatient substance abuse and mental health treatment program for women at risk of going to jail or prison. With case management, court advocacy, and therapy groups, Women at Risk provides an alternative to incarceration.
Room In The InnRITI is a mobile shelter serving 12 women for up to 90 days. RITI is sponsored by over 45 faith communities who take turns hosting the women for a week, providing all of their meals, shelter, and evening activities. RITI is staffed by a director who works with both the faith communities and the women to move them out of the program and into permanent housing.
Pathways to Permanent HousingPPH a Homeward Bound continuum of service is a direct implementation of the Housing First model. In this program, case managers facilitate permanent housing for clients and continue their work with clients once housed to develop and enact housing stabilization plans that lead to independence and self-sufficiency.
Hope to HomeH2H support teams come alongside Homeward Bound’s already successful supportive housing program and offer intentional relational support to help those people stabilize their lives and maintain their housing. Each team consists of 6-10 faith group volunteers who come together to support one individual or family as they move out of homelessness and back into their own independent housing.
LOCAL FAITH COMMUNITIES WORKING TOGETHERTO PROVIDE EMERGENCY SHELTER AND HOUSING FOR WOMEN
What happens when we work together? 12 Years of Mission Service 4380 Beds Provided 13140 Meals 5000+ Volunteers = 800 + Lives Touched
People of faith: Be Inspired! Your mission or social action team has decidedthat your faith community is going to host thewomen of RITI for one or two weeks during the year. Room In The Inn provides an avenue for peopleof faith to do what they already do best: care forpeople in tangible ways and encourage and empowerthem to lead healthier, more stable lives.
Your faith community commitment Material support: Transportation to and from your hosting sight, three meals per guest for each day that you are hosting (supper, light breakfast and a sack lunch) and room to put fourteen mattresses (twelve for your guests and two for your volunteers). Practical support: Would you be willing to help someone study for their GED? How about driving them to an appointment the week they are staying with you? Do you have a member of your faith community that could provide haircuts while you are hosting? Relational support: Remembering that the women move to a different faith community each week they still need all the support that you can give them while they’re with you. Listening is one of the best forms of support you can offer. These women have a fulltime case manager but they can always benefit from a listening ear. Financial support: Each faith community contributes a minimum of $1,200 per year to support the program including the salary of the director/case manager, weekend staff and miscellaneous occupancy costs and direct services while the clients are at the AHOPE Day Center.
Making It Happen!Your hosting commitment and your week of submersing yourself in a mission adventure will move very smoothly if you understand all of the ins and out the RITI program.You may not be directly responsible for picking the ladies up; making sure the mattresses are delivered to the next location or other details but your understanding of these needs will be helpful!
Your faith community TEAM! Program Coordinator Serves as the primary liaison between your faith community & Homeward Bound. (Any volunteer is welcome to contact Homeward Bound staff directly at any time, but concerns should go initially to the program coordinator.) Provide the RITI director with contact information for each night you are hosting. Facilitates RITI team meetings within your faith community. (These meetings will be held to determine that you have enough volunteers in place for your week. It is a good idea to have a wrap up meeting after you host the women to determine what went well and what you’d like to change the next time you host.) Attend coordinator meetings bi-annually and calendar planning meeting each August. These meetings will be held at one of our faith community sites and will include program updates and time for our partners in RITI to come together and share our best practices for working with the women. Responsible for web training follow through. It is the responsibility of the coordinator to assure that each RITI volunteer has completed web-based training.
Transportation Planner Schedule transportation. Responsible for seeing that the women arepicked up at the AHOPE Day Center between 5:45 and 6:00 p.m. each evening andreturning them back to the AHOPE Day Center by 6:45 a.m. in the morning. It isimperative that the women be picked up on time but not earlier than 5:45 p.m. andthat they are returned as close to 6:45 a.m. as possible to allow them to enter theDay Center prior to our opening time of 7:00 a.m. If it is convenient for your faith community to return the women toAHOPE one hour later (7:45am) on Saturday morning ONLY, it is a nice breakfor the women as AHOPE opens at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. The Sunday morningschedule remains the same.
Meal Planner Recruit people to prepare meals and host dinner. Recruitgroups, families or individuals to cook the supper meals, bring lunchpreparations, and breakfast items. Responsible for making sure that there is asupper meal plan for each night and that (hopefully) it is not duplicated duringthe week. Responsible for making sure that there is a light breakfast each day anda daily sack lunch for each woman. Determine how many people are to beserved each day and notify those who are preparing meals. Determine if you willuse dinner hosts or overnight volunteers to eat and clean after supper.
Overnight Host Recruitment Recruitment of overnight hosts is a team effort. This should becompleted by your entire RITI Team. You will need to place a sign-up sheetwhere it is visible to your faith community at least four weeks in advance. It ispossible for those who work to stay and those who have small children to stay(they can do weekends when they have backup for their child(ren).
Describe my particular job Dinner Preparers. Volunteers (Sunday School classes, small groups, youth groups, families, etc.) who will prepare a meal either at your site or will deliver a meal by 6:30 p.m. to feed the RITI women and any volunteers that will be present for supper. Dinner Hosts. Some faith communities utilize dinner hosts to eat with the women and then clean up after supper. The dinner hosts then leave when the overnight hosts arrive. Breakfast Preparers. Volunteers may choose to come and prepare breakfast very early in the morning or they can bring breakfast food the night before to be used the next morning. Lunch Preparers. Volunteers should bring lunch food the night before their assigned day. This may be lunch meat, chips, etc., to be packed by the women or may be pre-packed in sacks by the volunteers. Transportation. Drivers will be needed to and from your site each day. Overnight Volunteers. Each night you will need a minimum of two adults (one must be female) to spend the night with the women. One person must remain awake at all times during the night. PLEASE do not allow male volunteers to access the area where the women are sleeping.
Details & Other Tasks The mattresses will arrive at your host site on Sunday morning. The mattress delivery should be arranged between your coordinator and the coordinator of the faith community preceding your week. Through a partnership with Loving Food Resources (www.lovingfood.org) you can arrange for the mattresses to be picked up at your faith community and delivered to the next hosting sight. Your volunteers will need to be present to load the mattresses and there is a nominal charge for this service. For information on this please contact the Room In The Inn director. Dinner Hosts or Overnight Volunteers (or both) should arrive at your location in time to assist those who are preparing food or delivering food. This is generally by 6:00 p.m. The volunteers that are eating with the women should always be present to greet them. The RITI women should be picked up at the AHOPE Day Center between 5:45 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. It should never be later than 6:00 p.m. when the women are picked up and they should arrive back at the AHOPE Day Center no later than 6:45 a.m. the next morning EXCEPT SATURDAY, when we ask that they arrive at AHOPE at 7:45 a.m.
When the women arrive, hosts should greet them warmly and:1)Review the general guidelines (the guidelines should be posted in various placesand this should be done the first night and anytime that you receive a new guestduring the week),2)Show the women designated areas such as bathrooms, sleeping area, smokingarea, etc. It is also important that you explain to the group places that they may notbe allowed to be at your facility.3)Discuss morning’s departure time. It is important that everyone be ready to leaveon time so that they arrive at AHOPE on time.Supper should be served by 6:30 p.m. Allow the women to assist you in cleaningup if they offer. Working together will promote fellowship and trust among both thewomen and your volunteers. If someone doesn’t wish to help that’s okay.
Your doors should be locked at dark and lights out for the women is 10:00 p.m.At least one volunteer MUST REMAIN AWAKE AT ALL TIMES. All of thewomen may not be able to sleep all night and that is okay but there is no smokingafter 10:00 p.m. until the next morning.Please provide a light breakfast and a sack lunch for the women. Your volunteersmay pre-pack lunches or the women can assist in doing this either prior tobedtime or early in the morning.
The NOTEBOOK . . . . There is a RITI notebook that is sent with the women each night. In the notebook you will find a list of the women’s names. In addition, beside each name will be important information that you might need to know about that client. For instance: RX indicates that the client will be taking a nightly medication; if the client is arriving late or leaving early; if the client is providing their own transportation and other logistical points. We DO NOT provide detailed medical information about any client because we are HIPPA compliant and sensitive to the clients privacy. A client may, or may not, give you information about their health or mental health status. There may be very specific times that a client signs a release specifically allowing Homeward Bound to share medical information about them and, in that case, the information will be found near the client’s name in the book.
More about that Notebook! The contact information for the RITI Director is located in the notebook. If you have a question that needs to be addressed after office hours (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) please call the number listed for the on- call person (generally the RITI Director), LEAVE A MESSAGE, and you will receive a call back within the hour. If, for any reason, you do not receive a call within the hour please place a second call and email the RITI Director at your earliest convenience to let her know about the emergency and unanswered call. PLEASE take time to read the information in this book and make nightly notes about how your overnight stay went (on the reverse side of the sheet with the names of the women) and return the book to the AHOPE Day Center in the morning with the women.
Rules: We all crave structure. . . . It is human nature to crave structure in our dailylives. The women that participate in RITI are nodifferent. For that reason there are basic guidelinesthat each faith community is asked to follow. Thesesame rules are explained to the client upon her entryinto the program and she is asked to sign them. Aswe all do, from time to time, they will occasionallytry to push the envelope with the rules. Please keepin mind that if you don’t provide an environmentthat adheres to the rules it makes it difficult for thenext faith community to do so.
Rules and Tips No Use of alcohol No Weapons No drugs – coordinators will be notified of There are various ways to apply prescription medication use by the clients the rules. We recommend that you No fighting post the rules in several places No foul language or abuse where the women will be at your location (don’t go overboard). Cell phones may be used as follows: Cell phones may not be on during supper. Cell phones may be used after supper until 10:00pm (lights out). NO CELL PHONES Be diligent about explaining to the SHOULD BE USED FOR CALLING/TEXTING AFTER LIGHTS OUT. women where they may, or may not, be at your location. Each guest will respect the property of the other guests and of the host church Smoking in designated area only. No smoking after Remember that they know the 10pm. LIGHTS OUT until morning wakeup at 6am. rules and have signed a contract to No one may leave the shelter at any time, for any adhere to them. reason, and be allowed back into the church. This includes returning to vehicles that are at the church.
Health Emergencies As you may guess, many of your guests do not have access to adequate health care. There may be times when one of your guests experiences a health issue. Please use the following precautions: In case of a serious emergency, it’s always best to call 911 (NEVER drive someone to the hospital yourself) If someone is feeling sick and considering going to the hospital, try and contact Homeward Bound, RITI Director Sharon Blythe (776-9741). Leave a message and Sharon (or a Homeward Bound on call staff member) will call back to talk with the client. Sending someone to the hospital with an ambulance is expensive, and so we want not to rush to 911 to quickly. But if there is any doubt, err on the side of caution.
PLEASE do not volunteer if you are ill! It is your responsibility to help prevent the spread of germs to your guests, especially during cold and flu season. Here are some helpful guidelines:--------------------------------------------------------------------------- Please wash your hands before handling any food Please make sure hand sanitizer is always available in the dining room Please make sure soap and paper towels are in stock in the bathroom Dinner hosts/overnight volunteers: Please be sure to wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant spray at the end of the meal.
What if someone gets sick or there is an accident? "Universal Precautions" is an approach to infection control. All human blood and certain human body fluids are treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV), and other blood borne pathogens. It is not always possible to know when blood or body fluids are infectious; therefore, all body fluids shall be handled as if infectious. Please read the suggestions on the following page.
Here are guidelines to assist you if someone should be sick or have an accident: Gloves, bleach spray and a first AID kit should be available to you at your sight. A mop and bucket should also be available. Follow these guidelines for cleaning up bodily fluids (i.e. vomit, blood in the bathrooms etc.) as necessary: Always wear gloves! Wipe up spill with paper towels and place in plastic bags Spray area with bleach solution. Let solution sit for 20 minutes Wipe up solution with paper towels Double bag and dispose of paper towels in garbage bag
FAQ’S Are the women screened before These are the mostfrequently asked questions they come to our host site?that we hear from ourvolunteers! This does not Yes. Each night the women workmean that there are noother questions to be with a Homeward Bound staff memberasked! before you pick them up. The Homeward Bound staff is trained toRemember: recognize signs that there is a problem with a client, however, if you have a woman thatevery question is importantif it gives you a better is behaving inappropriately you shouldunderstanding and makes contact the RITI director (or weekend on-you a more comfortablevolunteer! call staff) immediately.
Should we eat with the women?F Yes. This is the best time for youA to get to know the women of RITI. General conversation is a great wayQ to start (how was your day). Most‘S likely you will find that after the ice is broken these great women will tell you about themselves.
What information can I share with the women?FA It is fine to share some details of your life with the women. Again, generalization is a good rule. Do not giveQ out your telephone number, address, place of employment (i.e. I work at a‘S bank verses I work at Bank of America) or other detailed personal information. It is okay to tell the women that you have a spouse, children, etc., again providing no detailed information about them.
Do we have to provide an areaF for the women to smoke?A Yes. Each faith community is required to provide an outside areaQ where the women may smoke. The women may smoke until 10:00 p.m.‘S lights out and may not smoke again until 6:00 a.m. when they are up for the day. It is not necessary for you to accompany the women to smoke, unless your facility requires it.
May the women have cellularF telephones?A Yes. The majority of our women have phones that are supplied through AssuranceQ Wireless, a Lifeline Assistance program administered by Virgin Mobile and supported by the federal Universal Service‘S Fund. The women MAY NOT use their telephones during supper and the phones must be turned off at 10:00 p.m. If there are phones that ring during the night, or the women are texting, it is important that you make a note in the RITI book so that this may be addressed with the women.
Will the women have individualsF visiting them while they are at the host site?A The simple answer is no. The womenQ are not supposed to disclose their location as that would be a breach of confidentiality on their part. Therefore, no one should be‘S visiting them at your site. There could be situations where an officer of the North Carolina Probation and Parole come to visit someone in the RITI program. Be assured that this is a necessary visit or it wouldn’t be made during the evening hours.
What security measures areF in place for the women while they are at a faith community?AQ The women are instructed not to give their location to others. If anyone (other than law enforcement,‘S probation and parole, or the RITI director) should show up at the host sight asking for a RITI participant, please lock your doors and notify the police or sheriff’s department.
Will all of the women in Room In TheF Inn be housed?A It is the goal of Homeward Bound to place our clients in supportive, permanent housing. The clients haveQ responsibilities to work with their case manager to determine the steps necessary to place and keep them in housing. Our women will almost definitely be in an apartment, not a house, and will either live in public‘S housing or in scattered site housing. Public housing means that’s it’s through the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville, and that rent payments are based on income. Scattered site housing means a private apartment with a private landlord, just like where you might live. In scattered site housing, Homeward Bound usually pays rent & utilities for the client until she is able to receive a permanent Housing Choice Voucher (what used to be called ‘Section 8’) or starts generating income and can take over those payments.
What does the case manager do for theF women and why is it important?A It is the job of the RITI director/case manager to first screen the women for the program andQ determine that they are appropriate and capable of maintaining while in the program. There are a number of things that factor into this decision such‘S as how long someone has been clean and sober, what daily steps they are taking to maintain and what they wish to accomplish while in the program. It is not uncommon if someone interviews and isn’t currently appropriate for RITI that they are given goals to meet to become part of RITI. In this case other shelter options are suggested for that client and the case manager can advocate for them if they wish.
Continued. . . When a client is accepted into RITI an entry agreement is completed andsigned by the client and the case manager. This agreement sets out the requiredexpectations while they are in the program such as community meetings (AA andNA), mental health services and other services that client might benefit from,including furthering their education. This agreement can be modified during theirstay as the client needs change. Each client has contact with the case manager atleast four days per week and has one on case management meetings at least bi-weekly. It is the responsibility of the case manager to assist the client in movingforward to housing through whatever steps are necessary and this is very differentfor every client. Once a client is housed there is a ninety-day transition periodwhere the client continues to work with the RITI case manager and their housingcase manager. This affords the client time to get to know their new case managerbefore completely exiting the RITI system.
Volunteer Boundaries and Behavior Do not proselytize: Room In The Inn offers you a chance to live out your faith, rather than share it with the women. If a woman initiates conversation about faith, feel free to proceed, but don’t initiate it yourself. Just like with anyone in your life, there will be times when you want to share a spiritual experience that you had, and you’re free to do so, but please do so respectfully and without imposing your beliefs on the women. Do not give over the counter medications to the women. We have OTC meds at the AHOPE Day Center and the women are allowed to get the meds that they need prior to leaving the building each night. It is not appropriate for you to give OTC meds to the women as you may be unaware of other meds that they may be taking and how the two medications might interact. Do not give money directly to the women. If at any time you recognize a need of a specific client that you’d like offer assistance with, please do so by giving that money to Homeward Bound, where staff will then use it for the purpose you designate. The women will know this rule also & shouldn’t ask you for money; if it happens, please inform Homeward Bound staff by making a note in the RITI book that you return each morning with the women.
A few more boundaries and behavior items. . .Do not engage in a romantic or inappropriate relationship with thewomen.Do not use drugs or consume alcohol with the women. The women thatyou are hosting may or may not have a history of substance abuse. To be on thesafe side, never drink alcohol or use drugs in their presence. Rather thantriggering a relapse or adding to their struggle with substance abuse, you want tosupport their sobriety. Do not break confidentiality. It’s okay to share with people in your life thatyou’re participating in this program, and it’s often educational to the peoplearound you to hear about some of your RITI experiences so that they have a betterunderstanding of homelessness. But respect the women & be sensitive by notdisclosing any of their personal information. Instead, take this opportunity totalk about RITI in general terms, how much it means to you to be involved andthe difference that it makes to our neighbors who are homeless.
The Rewards!This opportunity to bring mission into the walls ofyour building is without compare! RITI is verydifferent from any other service oriented mission orsocial action work that you will do. We all knowpeople who want to serve but are afraid to step out oftheir comfort zones to do so. RITI provides ampleopportunity for everyone to be involved at theircomfort level in a space that they’re alreadycomfortable in!
The resources, somewhere tosleep, meals, transportation and aloving environment that you willprovide assists these women to findstability and move forward intopermanent supportive housing. YOU ARE A PART OF THE SOLUTION TO ENDHOMELESSNESS IN ASHEVILLE.
This concludes the training for yourvolunteer experience with Room In The Inn.If you have further questions, please directthem to the Room In The Inn coordinator atyour faith community. Please click on the link below, fill outthe questionnaire and click send. We appreciate your time and effort!