WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO...
When we started this journey, we weren’t fully aware of what we were getting ourselves into. Our passion with the support and encouragement of many, empowered us to where we are now. We have quickly learned that starting and running a nonprofit is a lot of work! We often feel excitified (excited and terrified) and overwhelmed. Fortunately, we aren’t afraid to ask questions and are quick learners.
Here is a glimpse of all that we have been working on the last few to get this day center up and running.
Every month, one or both of us attends meetings for:
Homeless Encampment Task Force
This monthly meeting is led by Eric Friedlander (Assistant to the Mayor) and Gena Redmon (Director of the Department of Resilience & Community Service). This meeting focuses on addressing the homeless camps and the Hepatitis A outbreak. Various city departments, outreach organizations, and community agencies attend these meetings.
These monthly meetings are lead by the Coalition for the Homeless. These meetings cover a variety of topics and information, such as Single Point of Entry, Fair Housing, and Street Count for all members of the CoC. We became a member of the CoC and the Coalition for the Homeless this year.
Fundraising Executives of Metro Louisville. These meetings are to network and connect with the city’s grant writers and fundraisers. These meetings offer a monthly topic such as fundraising on social media and strategic planning and host a grant writing workshop that Andrea attended.
Every month our board of directors meets, discusses, and networks to further our mission and vision. We have expanded our board to 7 members with backgrounds in social services, finance, and legal. We are still in need of board members and are always looking for those who are willing to share their time, treasures, and talents. We are seeking individuals with experience in marketing, human relations, IT, and
Lunch and Learn
These are monthly meetings held my Metro United Way. They bring in providers from various agencies on a variety of topics such as housing, employment, and veterans. It’s a great opportunity to learn about community resources and agencies in our city.
Good News Party
This meeting is quarterly and is organized by the Coalition for the Homeless. This meeting is for anyone who care about the homeless in our city. This is a great time to talk with other outreach organizations and learn more about the homeless men, women, and children in our city and how we can work together to help.
We also have been utilizing many great trainings and conferences to learn more about what goes into working with this population. We have attended trainings and conferences on:
· Communicating with Youth
· Human Trafficking
· Fair Housing
· Grant Writing
· Domestic Violence
· Trauma Informed Care
· Financial Empowerment
· Volunteer Management
We also know the importance of money! Although we are a nonprofit, we need funding to operate and provide goods and services to those we serve. Grant writing is a time consuming task but can provide much needed funding.
We have applied for funding from HUD and Metro Louisville through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and External Agency Funds (EAF) to cover operating cost such as rent and utilities and funding for a case manager. We will learn the determination of our HUD and Metro grants sometime in May.
We have applied for funding from the KCD Artemis Fund to fund a Calming Corner, complete with soothing smells, sounds, and activities for children. We will learn the determination of this grant in May.
We submitted a proposal for Ignite Louisville and have been chosen as a finalist. We will travel later this month to give our pitch and compete for one of 6 teams of professionals dedicated to helping us achieve our goals as a nonprofit.
We partnered with the Coalition for the Homeless to apply for the Women 4 Women grant. This was a grant written as a collaboration between the Coalition and UP. They applied for the funding on our behalf. If awarded, we would receive the funding and would report quarterly to the Coalition. They would serve as a guide and mentor on the grant, while we would receive the funding to cover overhead cost. We will find out the determination on this grant in late April.
As we prepare to open our doors this summer, we have:
· Met with Family Scholar House, Volunteers of America, and Center for Women and Families to shape our policies and procedures.
· Finalizing a rental contract with a Louisville downtown church, so we can open our doors this July. This church will allow us to be open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 to 1:00 and offer showers, laundry, resource navigation, and case management, in addition to a mailing address and access to a phone.
· Attempted to solicit donations from major businesses such as Kroger, Walmart, and Target. We have found it is harder than we initially thought. Each business has its own procedure for in kind donations and many no longer offer it at the store level.
· Connected with individuals and families in need of services. Andrea’s background in social work has allowed UP to provide some case management. Participants have been referred through outreach, the Coalition, and our website. Since we have limited resources, many have been referred to agencies and programs who can better assist. However, we have successfully assisted one family into permanent housing!
Lastly, we are always spreading the word about our work and connecting with anyone and everyone we can. Andrea has spoken to U of L Kent students on two separate occasions to empower and inspire students to take charge and create change. One of our next steps is to connect with churches and synagogues to assist with volunteers and brown bag lunches for our participants. Also, we are building our list of partners and providers who will come to our center to provide information, resources, and outreach to our participants.