WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO...
In 10 months time, UP: identified a need for services, received 501(c)3 status, became members of a Homeless Encampment Task Force created by Mayor Fischer, created marketing materials, launched a website, attended community events supplying items to women and children, found a startup space and grew the board to 7 members. UP has diligently expanded their knowledge; discovering potential partnerships and linking with community resources. The support UP has received for this project is overwhelmingly positive.
UP is a forward thinking, creative, supportive and responsible organization, committed to meeting women and children where they are in their need. UP continues to show up, be a voice, communicate with local agencies and be a part of the solution for Louisville’s homeless women and children.
In October, UP participated in Stand Down, a 1 day resource fair, and served nearly 100 women and children. We provided toiletries, feminine hygiene items, wipes, diapers, and toys.
In November, we served at the Thanksgiving Dinner of Hope hosted at the Salvation Army. UP provided toiletries, feminine hygiene items, toys, hats, gloves, and socks to nearly 150 individuals.
Empowered women, empowering women...
UP helps women gain independence so that they can leave an abusive partner or the trap of sex trafficking. We offer a safe, welcoming, warm place where a woman who has been living in her car can go to feel human again. We have created a haven where women can bring their young children without fear for their safety. As a member of the Coalition for the Homeless, UP provides a centralized, low-barrier, and welcoming location where the Coalition’s partners can more efficiently provide services, from legal aid to vaccinations to support groups. In many ways, our shelter is a hub for the city’s health advocates to serve homeless women, who previously could not be found in a centralized location. For example, Family Health Centers does outreach at UP for the Common Assessment (which is used to prioritize those most in need of housing), dispatch a mental health provider for outreach, and will soon lead a homeless women’s support group on a regular basis. Passport Health Plans has offered to provide an Assister once per week to help women understand their healthcare options and complete the application paperwork for Medicaid. Volunteers of America MidStates can do outreach through its robust HIV testing program and the Health Department can administer vaccines for Hepatitis A, which has spiked among Louisville’s homeless population this year.
Another problem homeless women often face is homelessness verification. In order to qualify for many of the services provided through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development grants, a person has to be verified as homeless. This normally means staying overnight in a shelter or being documented sleeping outside by a member of the Common Assessment team. However, women, especially those with children, often survive homelessness by doubling up, couch surfing, or sleeping in their cars. UP has the opportunity to build relationships with these women, gain an understanding of their living situations, and provide homelessness verification when applicable, thereby unlocking many more resources for them.