Focus on Collaborative Solutions
As a member of the Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and Housing, CSA has taken a proactive approach to an upcoming national homeless service delivery shift known as coordinated access and assessment, which will be fully implemented in the Acadiana area in the first quarter of 2015. This process involves assessing all homeless clients served for acuity and vulnerability, allowing our staff to focus resources on housing those with the greatest likelihood of dying on the streets, or in a shelter, first. Re-housing Coordinators work with shelter and outreach staff to assess clients, then using the data derived from these assessments, direct clients to appropriate housing resources, depending on their needs. This process requires cooperation amongst all the homeless providers in the region to ensure that everyone is using the same assessment tool and methods to assess, thereby making prioritization of housing resources fair and equitable. We are committed to focusing on collaborative solutions, such as coordinated access and assessment, to end homelessness.
Develop More Needs-Based
Close to 90 percent of adults in America believe that it is important to be personally involved in the causes they support. Participating in the day to day work of CSA through volunteering, is a great way to get involved. Volunteerism not only provides needed human resources for our operations, but it also enhances our ability to provide compassionate services to people in need. People often ask us how to get involved in our programs, or approach us with projects they would like to do. Our goal has been to create volunteer opportunities that are meaningful for the volunteer and most importantly, beneficial for our clients. As we continue to grow our volunteer programs, we want to make sure that our service opportunities meet the needs of our organization and the people we serve - that they achieve the effect we intend. Early in 2015 we will begin assessing the various volunteer positions we have, evaluating current outcomes and identifying new ways for community members to participate in our work. By developing a more needs-based volunteer program we will be able to better provide interested volunteers with positions that match their interests and enrich the lives of the people they work with. In 2015 we resolve to provide education and training for our volunteers and increase the impact volunteers have in our community through needs-based volunteer opportunities.
Invest in Community Education
Some people know that Acadiana faces many complex social issues such as hunger, generational poverty, and homelessness. Many in our community are not aware of the suffering our neighbors struggle to overcome each day. If we are to create lasting change and combat these complex issues, the whole community must respond together. But in order to respond, we have to all understand what we are responding to. In past years we have used our website, newsletter, and social media outlets to share about our programs and report on the work we are accomplishing in Acadiana. We are shifting our focus and developing a new plan for our communications that invests in community education. In 2015 we are dedicated to generating more content about the causes of poverty, hunger, and homelessness and what we can do in response to these issues. Throughout the year we are asked many questions such as, “what should I do when someone asks for money,” or “why are people homeless in the first place?” We want to answer your questions and create a space for dialogue among service providers, businesses, city officials, civic organizations, social clubs and church groups. Hosting a Lunch and Learn or taking a tour of our programs are great ways to be educated not just about the issues themselves, but about the solutions currently at work in our community.
Envision a Better Acadiana
Acadiana has garnered national media attention for having the best food, being the happiest city in the U.S. and being the number one city for economic and job development. It is no surprise that we are proud of these accolades. At CSA we envision an Acadiana where everyone has a safe place to sleep at night, has the food they need, and access to develop their own resources to the best of their ability. We consistently realign our organizations strategies to reach these goals. By utilizing nationally recognized solutions to address hunger, poverty, and homelessness in combination with collaborate efforts, we believe our vision can become a reality. Let’s not just be the city with the best food, let’s be the city that uses its innovative spirit to solve the complex social issues our community faces.