In March, Homeless Connections was challenged to raise $50,000 by May 23 to be matched by anonymous donors. Nearly 300 contributions were made to help Homeless Connections meet the match, raising a total of $100,000 for the organization.
Funds raised from the match will go directly to providing the support and services needed to help more people like Tracey. It takes the support of the whole community to help its members who are experiencing homelessness. Homeless Connections is grateful for the generosity shown by this community.
Homeless Connections was able to announce that the match was met at their Annual Report to the Community on May 23, where they held an open panel discussion and answered questions from attendees. Those in attendance also heard Tracey’s story.
Tracey had experienced homelessness for over 10 years and was hesitant to accept help from Homeless Connections. Her life has been affected by domestic abuse and other forms of trauma, including a series of significant injuries to her brain. She has difficulty remembering things at times, and because of the trauma she has experienced, running away or fleeing from situations that cause her stress is often how she copes.
When Tracey began working with Homeless Connections, she and her Case Manager began getting her connected to community resources. These resources became anchors for her so that if she felt the urge to flee, she would feel the pull back to the people and places that were there to help her. According to Tracey, those anchors worked.
“It was the first time in my life that I was able to resist the urge to run away when things felt too difficult for me to handle,” said Tracey. “I started to realize that even when there are setbacks, if you keep moving up – even small moves – you are still moving and making things better.”
Because of Tracey’s determination, the relationships she built, and the connections she made, she now lives in her own apartment. “Being at Homeless Connections surrounded me with people who truly cared about me and I created lasting relationships with people there.”
On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, Homeless Connections held it’s Annual Report to the Community at the Grand Meridian in Appleton. About 80 community members joined us as we enjoyed breakfast and conversation. This was the first year Homeless Connections held an open panel discussion and answered questions from attendees. Through the panel discussion, stories and information was shared about the programs and projects happening at Homeless Connections.
You can read Homeless Connections’ 2016 Annual Report here. If you would like to receive our Annual Report by mail or email, please contact Community Relations Director, Beth, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Twice each year Homeless Connections and members of the Fox Cities Housing Coalition recruit and create teams of volunteers to participate in the Point-In-Time Count. The Point-In-Time Count is a nationwide counting of individuals experiencing homelessness who are either staying in shelters or who are staying in places that are unfit for human habitation, such as in a vehicle, under a bridge, or in a park. Volunteers involved with the count are equipped with the knowledge to assist any unsheltered individuals found in getting connected to local resources and services for food and shelter.
On Wednesday, January 28 around 8:45 p.m., volunteers began arriving at the Housing Partnership Community Room to get checked in for the first shift of the night starting at 9:00 p.m. The first shift ended at 12:00 a.m., and marked the beginning of the second shift, which ran until 3:00 a.m., and the last shift was 3:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. There was plenty of coffee and snacks to keep over 70 volunteers fueled throughout the night.
In addition to the count, the Fox Cities Housing Coalition sponsored the Winter Resource Picnic at Riverview Gardens. The goal of the Resource Picnic is to gather local service agencies in one place so that members of our community in need of these services can get directly connected to them. Representatives from Partnership Community Health Center, Tri County Dental, St. Vincent de Paul, and a number of others – including Homeless Connections – were at Riverview to offer information and support to those who came to learn about their programs and seek their services. Salvation Army even relocated the lunch they usually serve at their downtown site to Riverview. In the weeks leading up to the Resource Picnic, the Fox Cities Housing Coalition coordinated a drive for hats, mittens, and scarves, and collected enough (and then some!) to hand out to all guests. Volunteers were on hand to help hand out the hats, mittens, and scarves, and they also helped direct guests to where all the agencies were located and to where lunch was being served.
Between the Point-In-Time Count and Resource Picnic, it can be a tiring two days! However, it is energizing and motivating to have the support of volunteers and community members who all work together to make sure no one is left out in the cold and everyone is connected to the resources they need.
To volunteer for a future Point-In-Time Count, contact Beth.