Society of St. Vincent de Paul-Council of Seattle/King County Programs
Our need is to narrow the gap between requested assistance and the amount we can give to meet basic needs in the home. Preventing eviction, utility shut-off, and hunger require immediate assistance. No time to make a long trip to an agency when the eviction notice has arrived. We make same-day calls to landlords and utility providers to tell them that St. Vincent de Paul will provide payment. However, there is a problem. In the first 8 months of 2011, we fulfilled 3,240 requests to prevent eviction averaging $700 per request; we averaged $200 of support. In 2010, we resolved over 4,300 utility assistance requests averaging $300 a request; our payment averaged $150.
Food and Nutrition Services
Our goal is to meet the food and nutrition needs of the unemployed, working poor or homeless people through our South Seattle Food Bank.During 2011 we served 44,452 households and 128,167 individuals, some more than once, with nearly 1.5 million punds of food.We add value to our food services by providing printed nutritional information in several languages using our volunteer native speakers to listen to our customers before we develop the information. We also want to provide regular nutritionist's services at the Food Bank. Good nutrition leads to better health and relieves suffering.
Case Management Program
Our need is to provide our most vulnerable with underlying issues of homelessness, transition from prison/jail, disabilities and addiction a pathway to overcome barriers to self-sufficiency. We work with them to restore self-worth through an individualized plan of goals, programs and actions. Adding staff means we can handle more cases and give many a second chance.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Our rejuvenated Case Management Program is now focusing our energies on case referrals from the Conferences. Immediate assistance in the home is merely stopgap when often longer-term solutions are needed. Our Conferences have expressed a desire to offer clients additional assistance within the St. Vince de Paul organization. We have hired a Director of Social Support Services and are hiring a new intake and client assessment manager. We have developed new protocols and procedures for this unit. Our case managers only use tools that have a demonstrated and proven effectiveness for participants. From Aug. 2010-Aug. 2011, we assisted 243 new clients providing 2,165 forms of assistance. We believe that our rejuvenated program will provide more individuals an improved process and set of services during the twelve to eighteen months of a client's relationship with St. Vincent de Paul.
We need to expand the number of Conferences within King County to reach geographic areas not currently covered by our volunteers serving an ever increasing number of poor. We want communities to believe, understand and appreciate that helping people who are less fortunate than many of us is the right thing to do. We believe that people of faith and the broader secular community are both interested in helping organizations that are very clear and specific in their vision of how to meet the needs of the poor. We want to encourage the formation of new Conferences while encouraging a broader community to give their time, talent and treasure to help people in need.