Kathy Calabrese of Good Neighbor Alliance shares their story about the services Good Neighbor Alliance offers and how Legacy Foundation funds make a difference. Here’s her story:
Good Neighbor Alliance was proud and grateful to receive the first capacity building grant from the Legacy Foundation. The grant is funding the newly created Program Manager position. This position was created to take the burden of overseeing daily activities of the shelter and the PATH Shower Program and Outreach Team off the shoulders of the Executive Director. This gives the executive director time to concentrate on funds development, building collaborations and strengthening the organization to seek out more opportunities which ultimately benefit the participants in all GNA programs.
Capacity is instrumental in any non-profit to deliver their mission, improve their programs, develop strategic plans, create collaborative relationships and develop funding to include opportunities to provide leverage and matches in the world of contracts. Capacity equates to sustainability. Good Neighbor Alliance doesn’t have the ability to increase “prices” or charge participation fees therefore must be creative in raising funds to remain viable and sustainable to continue to serve Sierra Vista and Cochise County.
A colleague once told me that housing is healthcare. I believe this to be true and for those experiencing homelessness, no matter what the cause, Samaritan Station is the entry level to housing. Good Neighbor Alliance provides a safe place to be while rebuilding their lives. Those we serve come to us with such varied stories and reasons for ending up homeless. We have served men with only 4th grade educations, those with parents who were ill-equipped to help their children stay healthy and engaged in their educational process, grandparents raising grandchildren, adults who experienced childhood trauma that went undisclosed and untreated, families who are second or third generation poverty stricken, men and women who are mentally ill and cannot stay in treatment because they lack the capacity to stay engaged, veterans trying to rebuild their lives after combat, and help people clean up their lives after bad decisions, illness, divorce, and diagnosis.
Helping people deal with these issues is complex therefore GNA must remain in business to continue to deliver services for those who literally have no place to turn. GNA is at the bottom of our community safety net. I wish supporters and doubters could see the energy and the lengths the staff goes to in helping shelter guests and those living in the desert to build relationships, navigate through bureaucracies, make appropriate referrals, assist with income and employment opportunities, advocacy, all in an effort to help them locate suitable housing and remain housed. This is the reason GNA has to remain sustainable and constantly seek to increase our capacity. GNA shoulders a huge burden in our community to help those who find themselves unhoused and hopeless.
The Board of Directors and staff are immensely grateful for the vote of confidence given by the Legacy Foundation. It is getting harder out there with no end in sight. We live in a much different world now. Our community is blessed to have the Legacy Foundation as a partner in helping the health of those who are in need. The Legacy Foundation is strengthening Good Neighbor Alliance and our safety net!