Thank you for your interest in Ending the cycle of Homelessness In OUR COMMUNITY The following is a training module prepared for the volunteers of Room in the inn A program of homeward bound of wnc august 2013
MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of Homeward Bound is 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 Knowledge Be honest; How much do you really know about homelessness and the people who are experiencing it? Do you want to know more? In order to understand about the community that we serve you need to hear the facts. You will be moved by the facts and realities that you will learn today. THIS IS YOUR COMMUNITY
Homelessness affects our whole community: its economy, safety, health, and sense of well-being. When we end homelessness, what we see is resources freed up to meet other needs, local businesses and tourism faring better, and our neighbors restored to lives of wholeness and dignity. Why should I care about homelessness?
Many paths lead to homelessness: Job loss. Mental illness. Death of a family member. Addiction. Domestic violence. Medical emergencies. Why ?
Crisis The only reason people become homeless is that their support system fails during a normal life crisis.
FACTS In Buncombe County, about 500 people experience homelessness on any given night, and more than 3,000 people experience it throughout the course of a year. 43% of them are veterans. 9% of them are children. Very few of them have come to Asheville homeless; 75% used to have housing in Buncombe County before they became homeless, and many of them are from this area originally.
Day to Day: Feelings: Reality: • Homelessness is often terrifying, exhausting, and dehumanizing. • Fearful and susceptible to hate crime violence, theft, and assault. • Frustrated while trying to access services. • People don’t look you in the eye or treat you with respect. • Keeping appointments without transportation. • Supplying documents like my birth certificate or income verification, when I don’t have a mailing address to receive them at or a safe place to keep 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 who becomes ‘institutionalized’ and doesn't know how to navigate the world outside of an institution. Being homeless requires a skill set that people in housing don’t have: you have to know where to find food & safe places to sleep, how to survive with almost nothing. Likewise, being housed requires a skill set that people who’ve been homeless for many years may have lost: grocery shopping, paying rent on time, dealing with loud neighbors. Sometimes, when someone’s been homeless for a long time, they may say they’re choosing it, because they no longer remember what it’s like to be in housing, and they’re scared of the prospect.
What is the solution?SUPPORTIVE HOUSING • People become homeless because they lose their support systems & can’t maintain their housing. So when we provide housing and put those supports back in place, we solve homelessness, one household at a time. • It’s called the Housing First model, and it’s a national best practice and proven solution; it’s cost-effective, sustainable, and humane.
**Let’s Compare** Homelessness costs: Housing costs: • In Asheville, it can cost as much as $23,000 for one person to be homeless for one year. Emergency shelter & jail stays, emergency room & detox visits, and other high usage of expensive public services. • If we pay for someone’s housing plusthe case management services to help them overcome the issues they face, it costs about $10,000 during their first year; after that, as people stabilize, the cost drops to an average of $2600 per person per year.
And not only does it save our community money...it also works! Room In The Inn has had 43 clients move into housing over the last four years, and has an 93% housing retention rate. IT WORKS!
What exactly is Homeward Bound doing to end homelessness? SIX PROGRAMS . . . .
AHOPE Day Center AHOPE 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.
PATH PATH 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 Risk W@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 Inn RITI is a mobile shelter serving 12 women each night. 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 Housing PPH 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 Home H2H 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 8-10 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 Together to 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! People of faith: Be Inspired! Your mission or social action team has decided that your faith community is going to host the women of RITI for one or two weeks during the year. Room In The Inn provides an avenue for people of faith to do what they already do best: care for people in tangible ways and encourage and empower them 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 immersing 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 are picked up at the AHOPE Day Center between 5:45 and 6:00 p.m. each evening and returning them back to the AHOPE Day Center by 6:45 a.m. in the morning. It is imperative that the women be picked up on time but not earlier than 5:45 p.m. and that they are returned as close to 6:45 a.m. as possible to allow them to enter the Day Center prior to our opening time of 7:00 a.m. If it is convenient for your faith community to return the women to AHOPE one hour later (7:45am) on Saturday morning ONLY, it is a nice break for the women as AHOPE opens at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. The Sunday morning schedule remains the same.
Meal Planner Recruit people to prepare meals and host dinner. Recruit groups, families or individuals to cook the supper meals, bring lunch preparations, and breakfast items. Responsible for making sure that there is a supper meal plan for each night and that (hopefully) it is not duplicated during the week. Responsible for making sure that there is a light breakfast each day and a daily sack lunch for each woman. Determine how many people are to be served each day and notify those who are preparing meals. Determine if you will use dinner hosts or overnight volunteers to eat and clean after supper.
Overnight Host Recruitment Recruitment of overnight hosts is a team effort. This should be completed by your entire RITI Team. You will need to place a sign-up sheet where it is visible to your faith community at least four weeks in advance. It is possible 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. After your host week, you may chose to transport the mattresses to the next faith community with your own vehicles or, 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 site. 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: • Review the general guidelines (the guidelines should be posted in various places and this should be done the first night and anytime that you receive a new guest during the week), • Show the women designated areas such as bathrooms, sleeping area, smoking area, etc. It is also important that you explain to the group places that they may not be allowed to be at your facility. • Discuss morning’s departure time. It is important that everyone be ready to leave on 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 cleaning up if they offer. Working together will promote fellowship and trust among both the women 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 the women may not be able to sleep all night and that is okay but there is no smoking after 10:00 p.m. until the next morning. Please provide a light breakfast and a sack lunch for the women. Your volunteers may pre-pack lunches or the women can assist in doing this either prior to bedtime 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 daily lives. The women that participate in RITI are no different. For that reason there are basic guidelines that each faith community is asked to follow. These same rules are explained to the client upon her entry into the program and she is asked to sign them. As we all do, from time to time, they will occasionally try to push the envelope with the rules. Please keep in mind that if you don’t provide an environment that adheres to the rules it makes it difficult for the next faith community to do so.
Rules and Tips • No Use of alcohol • No Weapons • No drugs – coordinators will be notified of prescription medication use by the clients • No fighting • No foul language or abuse • 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 SHOULD BE USED FOR CALLING/TEXTING AFTER LIGHTS OUT. • Each guest will respect the property of the other guests and of the host church • Smoking in designated area only. No smoking after 10pm. LIGHTS OUT until morning wakeup . Wakeup should be no earlier than 5:30 a.m. • No one may leave the shelter at any time, for any reason, and be allowed back into the church. This includes returning to vehicles that are at the church.
There are various ways to apply the rules. We recommend that you post the rules in several places where the women will be at your location (don’t go overboard). Be diligent about explaining to the women where they may, or may not, be at your location. Remember that they know the rules and have signed a contract to adhere to them.
What if a rule is broken? • If a participant in the program violates a rule while they are at your facility there are two ways to handle the issues: • If you feel the matter needs to be addressed urgently, please contact either the program director or the on call person. You will find a number for this person in the front of the overnight book. • If you feel the matter can be addressed the next day, please write a note to the program director on the nightly sheet. It is important that you leave your name and contact number with the information in case there are questions. • If there is ever a rule violation that is a safety concern, please dial 911 or the appropriate authorities. At your earliest convenience please notify the program director or on call person.
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 (e.g. 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
Are the women screened before they come to our host site? Yes. Each night the women work with a Homeward Bound staff member before you pick them up. The Homeward Bound staff is trained to recognize signs that there is a problem with a client, however, if you have a woman that is behaving inappropriately you should contact the RITI director (or weekend on- call staff) immediately. FAQ’S These are the most frequently asked questions that we hear from our volunteers! This does not mean that there are no other questions to be asked! Remember: every question is important if it gives you a better understanding and makes you a more comfortable volunteer!
Should we eat with the women? Yes. This is the best time for you to get to know the women of RITI. General conversation is a great way to start (how was your day). Most likely you will find that after the ice is broken these great women will tell you about themselves. F A Q ‘S
What information can I share with the women? It is fine to share some details of your life with the women. Again, generalization is a good rule. Do not give out your telephone number, address, place of employment (e.g. I work at a bank versus 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. F A Q ‘S
Do we have to provide an area for the women to smoke? Yes. Each faith community is required to provide an outside area where the women may smoke. The women may smoke until 10:00 p.m. 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. F A Q ‘S
May the women have cellular telephones? Yes. The majority of our women have phones that are supplied through Assurance Wireless, a Lifeline Assistance program administered by Virgin Mobile and supported by the federal Universal Service 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. F A Q ‘S