Saturday, March 17, 2007

Clockwork, Part 3: Helping the Homeless

Jared Collins and Laura RayburnThis is the last in my series about the Leadership Ann Arbor Local Government Day. Be sure to read parts 1 and 2.

Our final stop of the day was at the Delonis Center (the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County). This building was built as a part of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance's "A Home For Everyone" program. Since it opened three years ago, it has served over 1200 clients per year and has been able to achieve a 60% success rate of getting those clients into sustainable housing (the national average is closer to 35%). According to their Director of Development, Jared Collins (pictured at right with Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Rayburn), their program has become an international model on how to deal with homelessness. People from as far away as Japan have come here to Ann Arbor to observe the center's success.

The center brings together as many services as possible in order to address any possible barriers that the client might have. Forty full-time and part-time employees, 400 volunteers, doctors, nurses, and representatives of other community services are all available on site. Their goal is to meet the client's basic needs and help them to find employment. This, in turn helps to defeat the root cause of homelessness: poverty.

If you have a few moments, you might want to visit their website. They have a great FAQ there which addresses many of the concerns that were raised in the planning of the center. While you are there, you might check out their wish list, or, if you have the time for a worthy cause, fill out the form to help out as a volunteer.

So, what steps has your community taken to end homelessness?

No comments: