State Farm Neighborhood Assist ® 2018

Murfreesboro Cold Patrol

Homeless outreach and advocacy

We are the only nonprofit in our community centered around outreach and advocacy to the homeless population. This allows us to go to those who otherwise would not access resources and build relationships with them. Those relationships allow us to understand what barriers exist in getting help to move out of their current situation and build the trust to help them move out of their current place. We also have a transitional house that can house up to 5 men at a time, and it is one of the only transitional housing units of its kind in our city. There are currently only 24 shelter beds for men in our city, and only 6 of those are emergency shelter beds. During the winter, our organization staffs the Coldest Nights shelter, which is an emergency shelter that is open when temperatures hit 32 degrees or below. Last year alone, we had over 325 unique individuals who passed through the shelter. There is a major need in our city for housing and for solutions for homeless individuals.

With $25,000 we would be able to hire a case manager dedicated to working directly with the chronically homeless population. Right now we are entirely volunteer-run. Our current outreach team is out on nights and weekends, but everyone has a full time job. This limits the impact we are able to have, specifically during working hours. Many of those we work with have disabling conditions that prevent them from holding full time employment. The wait for case managers to help with disability is often months. With a case manager on staff, we would be able to help fill out disability claims for those who are the most vulnerable in our community. We would also be able to proactively work with those in our transitional housing program to move towards self-sufficiency faster, meaning we could house more people. We can work proactively with other local nonprofits to increase access to services and help keep those who have been lost in the "system" from falling through the cracks again.

We realize that without intervention, many chronically homeless individuals often struggle to access existing community resources. By working in partnership with existing community organizations, we strive to collaborate and fill in gaps in services to bring individuals back to wholeness. The impact this grant could have on the lives of those we serve would be immeasurable. With an entirely volunteer staff, we have seen those who have struggled with addiction for years get clean and sober, we have seen shattered families reunited, and we have seen hope bloom in the darkest of places. By upping our activity in the community, we would be able to increase our impact to intentionally and proactively help people get off the street for good and access a better and fuller quality of life. With a grant for one year, we would be able to allocate time towards applying for other grants, helping us target gaps in services that would allow us to have a greater community impact as well.