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Lessons Learned

We want to share some of our challenges with you, so a greater understanding of our vision and mission can be found, along with the ‘why’ of what we do.

While we would love to boast 100% success with each client, that is not always the case.  There are at times people who enter our programs who are not ready to accept the hard challenges that face them, either in AODA recovery, a financial breakdown, or some other difficult situation.

You may wonder “why would we choose to help someone who wasn’t ready and willing to give it their all to succeed?”  Here is the 'Why'.

Sullly was at the top of the prioritization list.  A list that is formed using the coordinated entry pre-screen process.  A requirement for North Central Community Action Program (and other agencies in the State) because we are HUD funded for this program.  Sully is not a person that most would normally choose to help and use program dollars on, because of his past failures. It doesn't mean he won't succeed, he just hasn't yet. Which is exactly why the Coordinated Entry Pre-Screen process was developed.

People were slipping through the cracks. Agencies in the business of helping the homeless were picking those homeless individuals who they knew would be successful.  Successful, because the barriers they had were significant, but not overwhelming.  All agencies want to be successful, because our future funding depends on it. Yes, the less successful we are, the less money we receive.  So not only does the process allow those with the most barriers the greatest opportunity, it also presents the agencies with a paradox.  While we do not mind being accountable for our program dollars (everyone should be), we also find it frustrating to get our funding cut because our client may choose not to take the structured assistance we provide.  Hence, the challenge.

Sully came to us homeless, on the road to a recovery from a methamphetamine addiction and a long record of arrests for various charges.  Unfortunately, North Central Community Action Program had to terminate Sully from the program for safety reasons.

WHAT WE LEARNED during that process:

As hard as we try, not every client will succeed completely.  We must remain positive and continue the journey because many, many more will be successful and need our assistance. 

We learned our partners in the community are often able to assist immediately with some of the overwhelming factors our clients are dealing with.  Whether it be a legal issue, or proper clothing, enough food, assistance with a prescription, counseling sessions, transportation, bus passes, etc...

Law enforcement and County officials learned more about our programs and now have a greater understanding of what  we do.  They were not familiar with our housing programs and didn’t realize that we are actually helping people, not enabling them to continue down a path of self-destruction.  They learned we are a partner in the community and we all work together and try not to duplicate services, enabling us to help more people thereby making the community stronger.