We began 2017 by refining and focusing First Stop’s mission. Board of Directors and staff felt it was important to direct our energy and resources on the services and programs that will have the greatest impact for our clients. We boiled First Stop’s mission down into 3 simple words – Encounter. Connect. Empower.
First Stop sponsors multiple encounter teams, mostly made up of volunteers, that visit homeless camps each week bringing critical aid, building positive relationships, and inviting individuals to visit the First Stop facility for more help and services. This critical and unique component of First Stop’s mission spreads hope. These efforts were bolstered in 2017 by donation drives hosted by area churches, businesses, and organizations who helped us maintain critical supplies like bottled water, ibuprofen, and hand sanitizer.
The First Stop Day Center on Stokes Street acts as a hub for our staff and volunteers to connect with homeless clients by serving meals, providing hot showers, and laundry services. In addition, our facilities have undergone a transformation thanks to the work of volunteers. Weekend work parties, painting and repair projects, and overall property cleanup have returned the First Stop facility to a safe, professional environment where our clients can receive help with dignity. In addition, thanks to generous donations from individuals and businesses in our community, we’ve been able to add a larger laundry area and a mobile office unit.
Our work at First Stop is about offering a “hand up, not just a handout.” The work of our two full-time Case Managers makes First Stop unique. They work with clients to address obstacles, outstanding legal issues, develop important life skills, obtain full-time employment, and ultimately secure independent housing. Homelessness is a complex issue with many causes.
Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, we have over 80 homeless clients waiting for an initial meeting with a Case Manager. These individuals regularly come to the Day Center for meals and services, but have not had the opportunity to develop a plan for overcoming homelessness and securing sustainable housing. These are individuals we can help, if we have the resources.
I’m asking you to consider First Stop during the Holiday season this year. Our simple goal is to raise $35,000 to hire an additional Case Manager. Adding one more Case Manager to our staff will allow us to build on our success this year and help more men and women get off the streets, out of the camps, and into housing.
Thank you again for your support and consideration.
President of the Board of Directors
First Stop, Inc.
Paving a continuous path from homelessness to independent, sustainable living