|AmeriCorps VISTA Member Meghan Quigley with |
volunteers at Open Door
I've never been the kind of person who likes to do the same thing everyday. Luckily for me I work at a very eventful place – everyday I see new faces, hear new stories and am blessed to meet the people who frequent Open Door. There is never a dull moment at the Coalition for Compassion and Justice!
I run the emergency voucher program at Open Door that provides voucher assistance to clients for gasoline, laundry and healthcare assistance. I distribute these vouchers every Tuesday morning and they always go fast! Some people start lining up at our doors at 7am for our 9am open, as we distribute vouchers on a first come, first served basis. In addition to gasoline, laundry and healthcare vouchers, emergency assistance vouchers are available for rental assistance in order to prevent eviction, hotel stays while waiting for more permanent shelter and relocation expenses to be supported by family or other emergency situations are all available when funds are available. Our priority at CCJ is to families with children in all aspects of voucher distribution. We strive to give a “hand-up” to these families by preventing eviction one month and leave them with a plan in place to prevent the situation from happening again in the future. I see first-hand the great need for basic assistance in our community. The number of calls I receive for rental assistance is extremely high and although I turn many people away, many families are helped as well. Since the beginning of February 2012, CCJ has assisted 36 families in eviction prevention. As our funds are diminishing and the need for funding only seems to become greater, some good news has just come in! CCJ will receive grant funding from the Yavapai County Community Foundation in support of housing and homelessness prevention assistance for families with children!
At CCJ, I also facilitate The Community Circle (TCC) which is a group of representatives from local service agencies who work together to eliminate duplication of resources in our community as well as provide support and collective case management when necessary. As a group, TCC is currently working on merging our efforts with another CCJ program, Circles of Support, which empowers motivated individuals to self-sufficiency with the help of mentors. These mentors provide coaching in areas such as job acquisition and retention, budgeting and finances, housing, nutrition and more. Circles of Support is often offered to clients who complete Getting Ahead or Financial Education classes at Catholic Charities, which is a partner organization of CCJ and The Community Circle. TCC's other partner agencies include Arizona Women's Education and Empowerment, Adult Probation, Heights Church, Judian Society, New Horizons ILC, Prescott Area Women's Shelter and Yavapai Reentry Project. We are always looking for more organizations to join our conversation at our monthly meetings. If you would like learn about available resources and share what your organization has to offer, please join our next meeting on July 11, 2012 - call 928-533-2674 for more information!
Want to support The Community Circle in another way? The Folk Sessions of Prescott is sponsoring “Women In Song II” on Saturday, June 30 at 7pm at The Highlands Center – 1375 S. Walker Rd. in Prescott. The proceeds from this concert will go to The Community Circle which will in turn help families in need with emergency voucher assistance. Tickets are available at the Center or online at http://womeninsong.eventbrite.com/ Hope to see you there!