Problem: Even before the current recession, essentially every social service support agency in the community was acknowledging the urgent need for transitional shelter along with comprehensive transitional counseling/training to help persons in the Bartlesville area who are completely dependent upon community resources for all their survival needs, but do not want to remain in such a state of dependency. Many people are in this condition because they do not know how to get and hold a job, and then manage their finances and lives so as to live within their means. They need intense counseling, training and guided help with developing basic life skills necessary to become and remain productive members of the community. With the severe economic downturn, the numbers of people likely to fall into this category are bound to increase in the coming year. Yet to our knowledge, no agency in Bartlesville has any firm program underway or in the process of being set up to deal with this urgent need.
Solution: Vision Onward Inc. (VOI) is taking definitive first steps to meet this growing need. With this proposal we propose to provide transitional housing and counseling/training/coaching/guidance to 20 individuals or families for a 12 month period, that will equip and enable them to become productive self-sufficient members of the community. We realize that the need is far greater than the supply we are proposing, and intend to expand our program in future phases as we are able. But we believe some help is better than none, and that taking some action is better than endless talking.
Goal: Life change---Productive citizens that can give in to the community instead of just receiving from it. Also create a band of Christ Followers.
* Stable living environment in transitional housing units for a 12 month period.
* Assistance with other material sustenance as they transition to self-sufficiency.
* A comprehensive (and mandatory) training/counseling/coaching program designed to equip them with basic life and social skills necessary to survive and thrive on their own.
Proposed number of beneficiaries: 20 family units or individuals per year. We estimate that at least half will be families. Housing will be provided in a renovated apartment building formerly known as “The Alameda” and located at 312 Santa Fe in Bartlesville. The building renovations are currently underway with assistance from church volunteers. The building has 12 @ 1 bedroom apartments and 8 @ 2 bedroom apartments. The facility has an onsite laundry as well as a conference room for training.
Program Details: Program participants will be required to let program staff manage their finances over the first six months (they manage their own with coaching the last six months), agree to random drug testing, help with cleaning and maintenance of the facility, comply with curfews and other house rules, and attend all counseling/training sessions. Those who do not comply will be removed from the program. Counseling/training will include:
* Personal budgeting
* Debt counseling
* Low budget cooking
* Phone etiquette
* Resume building
* Computer literacy
* Other social service resources will be provided on an individual needs basis, including credit repair, “Celebrate (addiction) Recovery” program, and other programs based on individual needs.
Selection process: Applicants for program participation are directed to us from many of the other local social service organizations in the community. They may be either single adults or families. After completing the application, they are brought in for a personal interview, during which the entire program benefits and requirements are explained to them in detail. We are primarily looking for people who want to change and develop the skill of taking responsibility for their own lives and becoming productive members of society. Participants are selected from among applicants on a first come—first served basis. We currently have two approved applicants. One is an individual; and one is a small family.
Community Support: Volunteer commitment and participation by the Bartlesville community is growing by the day. Both Grace Community Church and Christ Community church are providing volunteers and committing to contribute towards the material and counseling needs of the program. Discussions are underway with other churches in the community about how they can best help. We have certified financial planners prepared to provide counseling. Momentum is building.
Success measurement: The following indicators will be measured, reported to donors, and used to evaluate the success and impact of the program:
* Number of applicants to the program
* Number of applicants accepted into the program
* Number of participants who complete the program
* Number of completing participants who successfully get their own place and are able to support themselves
As for all VOI programs to date, this program is currently being funded by private donations and volunteer labor. The apartment building that will be used in the program has been purchased with interim financing, and is currently being renovated. Interim financing is being provided by Jeff Holley, President and founder of VOI, and will continue until such time as adequate funds can be raised from other sources to pay for the building. Jeff is doing this because he believes in the program, sees the need for it as urgent, and does not want to delay its implementation any longer than necessary. Accordingly, Jeff will also provide interim financing for the rest of the project implementation if funds are not raised before they are needed. Therefore, VOI is proceeding full speed ahead with the program as scheduled. In the meantime, VOI is recently launching a fundraising campaign to bring in funds from a variety of additional foundations and donors, in order to ensure that the program does get fully funded.
For Updates on Pathway, click HERE.
To read an article by the Examiner Enterprise about a recent graduate from the Transitional Housing, please click HERE.