Serve Denton sent out this message. We are honored to be able to help those in need during COVID-19!
Denton Non-Profits Stand Up to the COVID-19 Housing Need Crisis
Organizations like Giving Hope and Grace Like Rain are stepping up to the plate. And you can help.
During COVID-19, Denton’s homelessness needs have been great, but the nonprofits’ response has been even greater.
We’ve all seen the inspiring stories of people coming together for the common good in the midst of this pandemic. Different walks of life, different abilities, and different resources (all with the same mission) – helping the community one person at a time. In Denton, our community is doing just that.
Many, for the first time.
With the economic challenges that have come in the wake of COVID-19, and will continue to come, no one has been immune to her hits.
By the day, community members are losing their jobs, reliable income, and the ability to pay their bills. But like a well oiled machine, Grace Like Rain and Giving Hope are working hand in hand in response to this economic emergency.
Families receive immediate housing assistance through Giving Hope, and are then referred to Grace Like Rain for a longer-term solution. Of course, for Grace Like Rain clients, The Wheeler House is always there to provide shelter, too, showing us that in order to help the community, we need the community.
And with their caseload tripling in the past two weeks alone, these organizations are being kept very busy.
How Have Grace Like Rain and Giving Hope Responded to Immediate Needs?
In a given month, Giving Hope and Grace Like Rain manage roughly 150 cases. Ranging from housing assistance, to financial coaching and battling chronic homelessness, they are working like the Energizer Bunny.
In just fourteen days, these two organizations have received about 150 case requests.
That’s over double the amount of families they serve every month.
When county Judge Andy Eads issued the Stay At Home order1 to stall the spread of the virus, calling all Denton County residents to only leave their home for essential work and errands, the question arose…
What about the families that have no home to go to?
With an increased caseload, and sheltering in place mandates being pushed further out, CEO Michelle Conner of Grace Like Rain, and Giving Hope’s Executive Director, Thyeshia Scott, are forced to think creatively.
“Until we can get still, stay still, and make it so the virus can’t get to anyone, we are all at risk. We need to make sure everyone in the community is able to stay where they are,” Thyeshia explains.
Grace Like Rain operates The Wheeler House, a short-term shelter for moms and their kids. Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, The Wheeler House was already at capacity with 7 families being housed. Since the pandemic began, they have sheltered 8 more families in rooms at the local LaQuinta as overflow, in partnership with the city. Shelter capacity has also been increased for thirty days.
Keeping transient families in one place is critical to the effectiveness of slowing the spread of the virus. Bouncing between cars, friends’ houses, and stores throughout the day defeats the shelter in place command, and has proven to be an unprecedented challenge.
One time assistance has never been offered before at Grace Like Rain.
They are now running a COVID Relief Fund for rental assistance, on top of the thirty to thirty-two current families they are serving, it’s only inevitable that these one-time-assistance cases will lead to longer-term care.
With the economic downturn causing so many businesses to close, and employees losing their work, many individuals are instantly finding themselves unable to maintain their current living situation.
One single mom is no rookie to living paycheck to paycheck in order to keep the lights on and roof overhead.
But with the economic hit of the Coronavirus, her paychecks have come to a screeching halt. Now, with five kids and no financial resources, she’s been forced to find alternative means to pay her rent and utilities.
That’s where Grace Like Rain and Giving Hope can help.
This single mother knew who to turn to when the crisis hit.
But what about those families who weren’t prepared for this reality?
For Many, Life Has Come To A Halt.
A new demographic of people are finding themselves in the front of the line at Giving Hope. With the loss of jobs, and cutoff of paychecks, the economic havoc COVID-19 has had on our community is shocking.
“If someone making $8000 a month with a rent of $1600 is now unable to pay that, they might not have been a previous client, but were well on their way,” Tyheshia explains. “Even though these people weren’t initially reaching out for assistance, they still weren’t in the best financial situations. This is an opportunity for us to provide them with the tools they’ll need to be successful, such as case management, financial management, and coaching.”
This has exposed a deeper and more crippling need.
If this is the reality of certain clients, imagine how much greater the need is for those making $3000-$5000 a month or less.
There’s going to be a process and lag time as these organizations slowly recover from COVID-19. An urgency to not just look at immediate needs, but rather gear up for what the long-term effects will be.
The need to come alongside and mentor people towards financial responsibility has never been greater.
“When the need stops being in the community’s face, that’s when it’ll get tough” says Michelle with Grace Like Rain. Once all restrictions are lifted, their work will increase, while their resources diminish.
Giving Hope and Grace Like Rain, through their partnership with Serve Denton, are standing up to the challenge. They are poised, ready, and eager to get their hands dirty.
But they can’t do it alone.
In The Words of Helen Keller, “Alone, We Can Do So Little; Together, We Can Do So Much”
So join hands (virtually) and help:
- Change your thinking. Build a community mindset around giving.
- Fixed mindset – “My $20 won’t make a difference – it can’t pay a $1200 rent bill.”
- Growth mindset – “My $20 along with ten of my friends’ $20 can pay rent and a half.”
- Think Long-term. What are your giving habits teaching our community?
- Option 1: Give a fish – Help by giving your $20 to the person on the corner.
- Option 2: Give a fishing pole– Give your $20 to Grace Like Rain and Giving Hope who provide for immediate needs, but more importantly, provide the tools and resources to equip people to provide for themselves.
- Be the hero for your friends in need. Contribute to the stability of your community by volunteering.
- Be a case manager
- Be a coach
- Be a childcare provider
- Give financially. Avoid the crowds, and order your toilet paper online from Amazon. And while you’re browsing, click over to these sites and join in the solution.
After all, Helen Keller had it right – together, we can do so much.
So ask yourself amidst this crisis: What part will you play in helping those in need?