A letter from the desk of Michelle Conner:
COVID-19 has thrown the entire world into the unknown. Life as we have known it has been turned upside down and completely shaken up. Daily, things are changing and businesses, churches, non-profits, governments, and individuals are having to assess and adapt to the changing climate.
All of us here at Grace Like Rain and many other local non-profits began to see how hard this was going to affect what we do and who we serve. The population we serve will be some of the hardest hit because of the loss of jobs and income for an extended length of time. They have children to care for and they have no idea how they are going to be able to do that. With no income, how are they going to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table? The eviction holds are a blessing to us and our families because we will now have time to plan and hopefully help the families get their rent paid. When the hold is lifted, rent will have to be paid or landlords will have to evict and when that starts happening, we have then created a different concern, homeless families with no shelters for them to go to.
The crazy thing about this time is the fact that this is affecting families that have never been in this situation before. We had a mom drive through to pick up food one night and her statement was, “I have always been able to do this, to take care of my kids, but times are different now and with the loss of my job, I have to feed my kids somehow.” We know that this time is also creating a whole new population of people that will need assistance this time.
We are doing our best to collaborate and partner with local governments, churches, and non-profits to plan and serve the community the best we can. I have truly been inspired with how well we are all coming together in this time!
Funds are being created through the city governments are contributing to and United Way is distributing and the federal government is issuing stimulus checks to help individuals. All of these options along with many more will be taken into consideration with each family as we begin to process the over 100 requests for rental assistance just this month. We commit to continue to evaluate the entire picture for every family and help them plan the best that we can. Each family is required to submit:
- Loss of Job Verification
- Income Verification
- Lease or Mortgage Verification
- Unemployment Application if applicable
Along with these documents, each family will receive a phone call from a case manager that will help get an idea of the bigger picture and then help each family find additional resources and assure them that GLR is here for the long haul. Unfortunately, we know that these funds will not be enough as the need grows.
COVID-19 has caused us to restructure a little in that we are offering services similar to Homeless Prevention for the entire community instead of only our Case Management families. GLR is committing to the continued growth and strength of our Case Management Program while also addressing the many needs that are arising. We know that the effects of this time will be long lasting and the number of families that need and will need our services is going to continue to grow. This will take money, people, and overflow of God’s abundance. We are already seeing His goodness through you, our donors and volunteers but we need to expand that circle just as our needs are expanding.
We need coaches, individuals that are willing to reach out to a family on a consistent basis checking on them and encouraging them. We need financial resources not only to offer assistance to families that is above and beyond the resources that are already there but to hire more Case Managers to be able to effectively walk alongside families.
I can commit to you that we are doing our best to keep up with what community and government resources are out there and how we can best serve the individuals that are coming to us for help. Many have asked, what do you need and how much do you need and unfortunately, we don’t have a specific answer. What we can do, is look at the number of requests that are coming in and calculate that by an average rent amount and look at what the rental assistance would be if we approved every request that came in for April so that is what we are currently doing. As we begin to collect more information and this continues to go on, I believe that we will get a better picture of the ongoing need. In the interim though, we are asking that you give in any amount that you are able either monthly or one time trusting that GLR will continue to do what we have always done so well. We will continue to serve families and we will continue to adapt and grow so that we can see families’ lives transformed through the process. We are and always have been about more than financial assistance. We want families to know that they are loved and cared for in every way possible.