MACCH and our Partners in the News
(May 23, 2016)
MACCH Partner Agency Stories
MACCH works to end veteran homelessness
Veteran homelessness is an issue that plagues our Omaha community. Ten percent of the homeless individuals in the metro area are veterans. Although the numbers have decreased in recent years, an estimated 40,000 homeless veterans slept on the streets in the United States every single night in January of 2016. Moreover, it is estimated that at least 140 veterans are homeless on any given night in our local community.
To break this cycle of veteran homelessness, the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless understands that a focused plan is necessary. No veterans should be living on the streets after they have returned home from serving their country on active duty.
That’s why MACCH has made veterans a priority in its core initiative, Opening Doors: MACCH 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. MACCH outlines exactly how it is going to end veteran homelessness by December of 2017 in three fundamental steps:
• End homelessness among all veterans eligible for Veteran Affairs by December of 2016.
• Prioritize all veterans for housing by December of 2017.
• Ensure all veterans are never homeless for longer than 90 days at any given time by December of 2017.
While the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently increased funding for veteran homelessness, there is still an unmet need in our local community, especially for those veterans who do not meet VA medical eligibility. In order to truly end veteran homelessness, more resources must be dedicated to our nation’s heroes.
MACCH continues to explore additional opportunities as they strive to achieve end veteran homelessness locally. As a community, we can give veterans the home they deserve. Find out more about Opening Doors: MACCH’s 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness here.
UNO MavPR Account Executive
There's No Place Like Home for First Time Homeowners
Owning a home is the foundation on which families can build a legacy. For a lot of people, becoming a homeowner means independence and increased self-esteem.
However, many potential homeowners are unsure how to get started or if they are financially ready for that next step. That’s where Family Housing Advisory Services lends a helping hand.
Family Housing Advisory Services is a non-profit organization founded in 1968 to help first time homeowners learn steps it takes to own your own home. Today the agency serves more than 730 people and operates from its main offices in North Omaha, South Omaha, Council Bluffs, Iowa and Chadron.
Offering classes through six different programs, Family Housing Advisory Services teaches clients about establishing and maintaining good credit, working with realtors and learning aspects of financing. For example, the financial fitness education workshop gives clients monthly individual budget counseling and financial goal planning.
During this course, clients are educated on the understanding and implementing of good money management. From this class they have been able to repair 619 of their clients’ credit and within the last year alone 87 clients have become homeowners after participation in the workshops.
Donna McFadden, director of the Homeownership Program, says it is one of the six programs geared toward building a strong understanding of what it means to be a homeowner.
McFadden has worked for the Family Housing Advisory Services for 19 years and says she loves her job.
“I love giving back to the community.” “Growing up I knew the importance of having a home and what a foundation it is for the families and the children growing up within those homes.” McFadden says. “I want to help first-time owners not only get a home but keep it for their families--for them to have something to build upon, growth is what matters to me.”
A University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate in criminal justice, McFadden says her courses in social work helped form her decision to help those in need.
“A lot of the people that come into my office are first-generation homeowners and single mothers, so we want to prepare them for the real world and what to expect,” McFadden says. “Buying a home is a lengthy process,”
Family Housing Advisory Services provides monthly classes that help throughout every stage that leads up to and includes home buying. Those classes include Pre-Purchase Education, Financial Fitness, Omaha Earned Income Tax Credit and Tenant Services.
“We have classes throughout the year that range from mornings to later in the evening. We want to accommodate everyone,” McFadden says. “We understand that people are out in our community making a living and doing the best they can right now, so we want to show them that we understand. Building them up so they can purchase their own home will be a reward well worth all their efforts.”
UNO MavPR Team Member
Zero:2016 and Ending Veteran Homelessness
Our community is one of 75 nationally participating in the Zero:2016 campaign, which is a "movement of communities working to end veteran homelessness by the close of 2015 and end chronic homelessness one year later...this national effort supports participants in optimizing local resources, tracking progress against monthly housing goals, and accelerating the spread of proven strategies."
Preventing and ending veteran homelessness will only happen through collaboration. In that spirit, local housing and homeless nonprofit service providers are now working to prioritize veteran housing placement. Ending veteran and chronic homelessness IS possible.
Executive Director, MACCH
Street outreach is a process of initial and ongoing engagement and interaction with persons who are literally homeless. We go on outreach all year long, and we go anyplace homeless individuals are living outdoors (such as streets, alleys, bridges, cars, or camps). We find and engage with them to help them obtain services such as healthcare, mainstream benefits, and housing (just to name a few). The MACCH street outreach team works together with many agencies to provide the most services to clients. Street outreach is perfect for reaching homeless people who otherwise would be lost to long term care because outreach teams GO TO those in need. We meet them where they are.
Street outreach workers need to love what they do!! Street outreach workers are:
People Centered and Trauma Informed
Independent AND strong team players
Street outreach teams also help link clients up with the services they need, but are otherwise unable to access on their own. We are able to provide referrals to various local agencies with whom we collaborate. We work with the Veteran’s Administration (VA), Charles Drew Medical Services, Heartland Family Service, Nebraska AIDS Project (NAP), Youth Emergency Services (YES), Community Alliance, Mohm’s Place, Integrated Health, Salvation Army Emergency Community Support, and the Council Bluffs Police Department.
The overall impact MACCH Street Outreach has had on our community is huge; it is a vital aspect of our community’s Continuum of services. Research shows that outreach initiatives such as ours will, in time:
Decrease number of homeless days
Improve housing status
Decrease psychiatric hospitalizations
Reduce drug use
Improve health and mental health
The team in 2014 served and engaged with over 122 clients and provided over 1600 services (and we know we will have higher numbers this year as we are having more of a presence in the community)
The best part of street outreach--what I love the most--is knowing our work has impacted many people in our community by helping them obtain safe housing, healthcare, and hope for their future. There is no other better feeling than knowing are we profoundly changing lives on a daily basis.
Heartland Family Service
Heartland Family Service