And seemingly overnight another community resource disappeared. Losing Survivors, the domestic violence shelter, is devastating to an already under resourced community. I was so angry when communicating with the funder. Where was their intervention? Where was their commitment to working with the community on a solution? With one email to the board, who was actively working on solutions, another program disappeared.
SCCAP is working with families from Survivors to find housing where possible. The community is looking for solutions around the services Survivors provided. The funder is looking for out of county providers to provide services here. This is a great loss and further erodes the social service infrastructure. It is a tragedy.
Adams County is an under resourced community from a social services and social supports standpoint. We have no Permanent Supportive Housing. Our access to Behavioral Health Supports and Addiction Services are severely limited (especially on the Governmental support side). We have no rental assistance or homeless prevention services. We only have one, year-round shelter that now only operates from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. and now we have no domestic violence shelter.
Funding social services is not easy. Changes in philosophy at the federal or state level can drastically impact regulations and funding at the local level. Folks in positions responsible for creating policy don’t always understand the nuances of community work and they don’t understand that every community is different.
As the leader of an organization, it is critical that we act responsibly. That we are open and transparent. That we meet or exceed funders requirements and when we can’t that we either adapt or look for other funding. When SCCAP’s shelter funding was recently cut from $238,000 to $64,000, our administration and Board of Directors took a deep dive and did a cost benefit analysis on the funding. The change in philosophy at HUD expected us to house people in 14 to 30 days (not possible in Adams County), and required us to take folks who were active in addiction, and to serve folks through a statewide coordinated entry process, (50 to 70 percent of the folks we were serving were from out of our county). Those requirements were simply not working in this under resourced community. We met with County Planning and they agreed. We decided to not accept the funding so we could do what was right for this community and the families we serve. That decision left us with a larger deficit (although only a small portion of the grant was for shelter supports) but the ability to do work the right way and have better outcomes for families.
A group of local community members is working with us to try and prevent losing another community resource. On July 27, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. we will host a fundraiser at the Adams County Homeless Shelter. If you want to see our shelter, enjoy some home baked desserts, and meet some families who can share their experiences, please come join us. Your $10-plus donation will help keep the shelter open and will allow you to see where your money is going. And a generous donor is matching funds raised for the shelter up to $10,000. We are so deeply appreciative.
SCCAP is also trying to build its endowment fund at The Adams County Community Foundation. Gifts to the SCCAP’s “Opportunity Fund” at the foundation are an investment in SCCAP’s long term future so that we are not impacted by government changes. To learn more, go to www.sccap.org and thank you for preventing another closure of a critical program.