The need for increased interaction and collaboration among the members the Concho Valley Homeless Planning Coalition was well received at yesterday’s coalition meeting. Major Tim Grider, Commander of The Salvation Army of San Angelo and Ron Landers, CEO of Christians In Action gave brief but informative presentations.
Major Grider explained that most of the negative chatter spread throughout the homeless community stems from the Emergency Shelter having to keep up very strict rules for the safety and comfort of ALL the overnight guests. As a coalition member agency, I urge you to STOP those rumors and start sending people who need emergency shelter to The Salvation Army. Please stop throwing away your money on overnight hotel stays because someone has heard bad stories about the shelter. A person (or family) can spend up to seven nights at the shelter free of charge, usually enough time to work through the overwhelming situations that led them to seek emergency shelter in the first place.
Ron Landers has also been dealing with the negative chatter that was being spread throughout the social services community. But, his message yesterday shed a whole new light on Christians In Action’s (CIA) mission and the changes taking place since being named CEO. Coming to CIA from 17 years in the missionary field overseas, Ron has a very different perspective on how the ministry of CIA can be carried out. His ideas and experience are embraced and endorsed by his Board of Directors and we will be seeing many more positive changes in the near future.
To help meet the ongoing financial needs at CIA, Ron is stepping out and demonstrating his personal commitment to CIA. On August 27th, Ron will be participating in a 100-mile bicycle event in the hellish heat of Wichita Falls and he is asking us to sponsor his ride. You can pledge $1.00 a mile and all the money goes directly to CIA’s general operating fund. Contact Ron Landers at CIA for more information.
After the presentations, Rev. Floyd Crider talked about a few issues the coalition has chosen to tackle:
If we are to attract more money into San Angelo to fight or homelessness problem, we must have an exact count. We know that there are about 92 homeless people living on the streets of in transitional shelters. But this number does not include several hundred people who are temporarily living with friends and family because we lack sufficient affordable housing in San Angelo. Rev. Scott Heiser spoke about a project he is working on along with several others that will help in this area but it will be several years before we can expect to see any results. In the mean time and so that the city of San Angelo can apply for more funding to support the housing agencies already in place, we feel we need to conduct our own all-inclusive count of the homeless in our city. The idea of an independent count was decidedly adopted by the coalition members at the meeting and, as a result, we are forming a Count Committee from within the coalition membership to tackle the planning and execution of the independent count.
Rev. Crider also brought the issue of increased collaboration among coalition members when applying to grants related to homelessness. The recent ESG grant application submitted by Concho Valley Community Action Agency was only supported by The Salvation Army. This may have critically weakened our changes of securing addition emergency services grant money we need in San Angelo. Had there been more collaborative participation from coalition member agencies, we could have strengthened our place in the competition for this funding. Everyone at the coalition meeting agreed we must increase our collaborative efforts and support of each other when applying for grant monies. As a result, we will be forming a Finance Committee for educating coalition members about how to collaborate on grants, when grant applications are being accepted and assisting organizations garner the support and collaboration from coalition members for grant applications.
We need you or a member of your staff to volunteer one or two hours a month to work on a committee for the betterment of all coalition members and the community: Count Committee and Finance Committee. If every coalition member organization supported these committees, just imaging the impact we could have on our community – collectively and individually.
We have begun the process of writing the guidelines, goals and qualifications for each committee with availability expected by the end of July. If you would like to participate on either committee, please send an email to Rev. Crider ( firstname.lastname@example.org).