It takes a village

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Village

Contributor: Nanci Micke, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at United Way Fox Cities

To anyone on the outside, Bill had a "perfect" life. With multiple college degrees, he was working in a well-paying job within the healthcare industry. He was married with two young boys. However, life was far from perfect as Bill struggled with significant mental health issues that were causing him severe distress. Eventually, he lost his job and moved in with his parents as an interim measure. They struggled with the complexity of his mental health issues and they eventually dropped Bill off at the Warming Shelter.

Bill connected with the It Takes a Village program. He moved into an apartment and started working with the program's case managers to access community resources to increase his stability and self-sufficiency. Now out of the program, and back on his feet, Bill shares, "Being part of It Takes a Village made it possible for me to transition from unemployment and homelessness to re-entering the workforce and living independently. Regular meetings with my compassionate case manager helped me stay organized and moving forward. The program also connected me with a community of other people experiencing similar challenges. This helped me stay connected on a personal level."

A recent count noted that approximately 350 people are homeless in the Fox Cities on any one night. Local shelters are at capacity and often maintain waiting lists of 20 individuals or more. It Takes a Village provides long-term transitional housing and intensive, supportive services for individuals who have a history of chronic homelessness and have a documented disability. The average duration of participants in the program is two to three years. The program not only moves chronically homeless individuals from shelter to more stable housing, but also frees up shelter beds for other clients.
 
United Way Fox Cities is supporting It Takes a Village with a grant of $15,000 to the Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities. Ryne Lodl, Case Manager for the Housing Partnership acknowledged the funding, "Since most of the individuals in the It Takes a Village program do not have income, we experience a lot of unexpected costs. This grant is a big help to allow us to assist our participants to the fullest."