Help UPO Help the DC Homeless

by United Planning Organization
Help UPO Help the DC Homeless
Help UPO Help the DC Homeless
Help UPO Help the DC Homeless
Help UPO Help the DC Homeless

The Hypothermia season, which ended on April 15, 2022, after five months with the highest number of hypothermia and cold weather emergency alerts we have seen over the last several years. Over the past two months, the number of available shelters have been reduced by half, which significantly decreased bed capacities for those seeking shelter. This resulted in considerably more homeless individuals are unsheltered on the streets. UPO Shelter Hotline (SHL) has been very responsive in serving those on the streets with comfort items, food and referral to homeless services programs.  There has been renewed emphasis on collaboration among homeless providers within DC continuum of care systems to move individuals and families experiencing homeless into permanent supportive housing options.

Among the DC homeless population, number of positive COVID19 cases decreased significantly over the past several months. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's Office have kept protective and safety measures in places across the shelter system and contracted provider programs– to help mitigate spreading the virus. Shelter hours remained extended 24/7 (with onsite case management, testing, healthcare, meals etc.) to limit movement across the city. Also, more community-based Walk-Up Testing and Vaccination Sites were added in the city to provide easy access for customers, which resulted in a considerable increase in the number of homeless persons fully vaccinated and boosted.

As we transition to warmer weather, UPO SHL operational and response posture remains consistent in providing compassionate services to those experiencing homeless. Shelter Hotline remains on the front-line daily (365/year) saving lives by reaching out, conducting welfare checks, distributing meals and comfort items, responding to hundreds of calls from customers seeking help and resource linkage.

UPO’s Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program moved 16 new tenants, 9 families and 7 individuals, into the 16 remaining apartments at MDL Flats, developed by UPO’s partners TM Associates, located at 1550 1st St. SW on schedule in April 22. Thanks to your generous support all clients were provided with furniture for their new homes. All residents in this 100% affordable, new construction community are at 50% of area median income and below.

Construction of MDXL flats, located at 1530 1st St., also being developed by TM Associates, has commenced with the clearing of the sight and completion is anticipated during 2023. Apartments in the new development community will also be affordable for PSH tenants at 50% of area median income and below. 

In UPO’s Scattered Sites program PSH has serviced a total of 58 clients, 24 families and 34 individuals. Of the 58 clients 54 have been moved into Permanent Housing. We have consistently maintained a housing stability rate of 100%. We work with families to help them, with the support of UPO’s multi-faceted programs, to achieve the highest level of self-sufficiency possible and improve their overall quality of life.  We value data and information to inform our work to best serve our families.  We track our work closely and modify our strategies according to our own analysis of our work, as well as keeping apprised of the current best practices in the field. 

With PSH gearing up to move many more families into affordable housing during the next 18 months the need to provide support for furnishing their new homes will be strong. In addition we have a critical need to replenish our supply of comfort items to support those who are still homeless!

We have a great opportunity on Wednesday July 20th, JULY BONUS DAY, to kick off our fundraising efforts with a soaring start.  

  • The 2022 July Bonus Day campaign will have a Matching Fund of $400,000.
  • While funds remain, the following matching structure will apply:
  • Donations of $100 and up will be matched by GLOBAL GIVING at 30% - 50%, depending on gift level.
  • Donations will be matched based on the order in which they are received while funds last.

We ask that you please join us with your generous support and share our project with your family and friends. Our Goal is to raise $10,000 on July Bonus Day to assist at least 5 DC neighbors with household supplies and furniture when they move from homelessness into their new homes.

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As the pandemic entered its third year, the new Omicron Variant caused an uptick in positive Covid19 cases in DC in December 21 and January 22 but fortunately the effect of Omicron was less severe, and in February 22 positive COVID19 cases dropped considerably. With the downtick, on March 1, 22 DC will relax its mask mandate in public and some identified venues, however a mask advisory will remain in force for Homeless Shelters and UPO Shelter Hotline personnel who interact with homeless clients and the public.     

During the past quarter UPO’s Shelter Hotline team has diligently continued to protect the unfortunate homeless on the streets of DC, checking on their health, transporting  them to shelters, and providing them with lifesaving comfort items, food, warm clothing and protection against the elements as the bitter cold of the hypothermia season became severe with a record number of Cold Weather Emergencies. With 40,000 comfort items distributed in the past three months a need to restock urgently requires additional funding.

According to a report from the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness the number of homeless in DC was reduced by 20% in 2021. Shelter Hotline shared in this success to the extent of being an integral part of the District Homeless Continuum of Care. 

The opening of MDL Flats, developed by UPO’s partners TM Associates, located at 1550 1st St. SW last year provided affordable housing for 76 individuals and families, who moved into their in their new homes, with upgraded amenities, before December 31, 21. All residents in this 100% affordable, new construction community are at 50% of area median income and below. Another new affordable housing  building, MDXL flats, located at 1530 1st St., also being developed by TM Associates, is now under construction. 

UPO’s Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program has tenants approved who are  scheduled to move into 16 MDL Flats units on April 1, 22.

We are very grateful to all our supporters who have so generously supported our appeal for support of our PSH program. In July 21 we set a goal to raise $10,000 to assist at least 5 DC neighbors with household supplies and furniture when they move from homelessness into their new homes. With your help we have now raised more than $8,000! 

With 16 more tenants  moving in next month needing funding support for furnishing their new homes, and our critical need to replenish our supply of comfort items to support those who are still homeless, we have set a new goal of $10,000 for the next six months. Please maintain your generous support and share our project with your family and friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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During the past quarter UPO’s Shelter Hotline team has diligently continued to protect people who live on the streets of DC. We check on their health, drive them to shelters and cooling centers, and provide them with lifesaving comfort items, food, clothing and protection against the elements.

While it is difficult to precisely determine the total number of individuals experiencing homelessness in the District that have taken advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated, we can confidently say, the overall response has been high. As COVID19 vaccine became readily available, homeless providers worked strategically to ensure easy access as well as assistance to our most vulnerable residents to get vaccinated. Among the homeless population, those in low barrier shelters represented a higher vaccination rate (with at least 1 of 2 shots), as evidenced by a notable decrease in COVID19 transmission across the shelter system. Although the Delta variant is becoming more rampant across the country, there has not been any reported outbreak or significant increase of transmission among the homeless population in the District. However, this serious strain of the virus is being closely monitored by the homeless system as to the extent of impact on individuals experiencing homelessness.

The MDL Flats, located at 1550 1st St. SW are now completed and are open to 76 individuals and families, who can expect to celebrate Thanksgiving in their new homes, with upgraded amenities. All residents in this 100% affordable, new construction community are at 50% of area median income and below. We expect that another new building, MDXL flats, located at 1530 1st St., also being developed by TM Associates, will close in December 2021. The sister project to MDL flats will provided 101 units of affordable housing and expanded amenity space.

The Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program has made a strong delivery to house individuals and families facing homelessness. MDL Flats is already practically full with 14 of the 15 PSH units already approved. The PSH units at MDL Flats are one of the few in the District to provide 4-bedroom homes for the larger families in the District needing permanent homes. Overall, the PSH program has received 54 clients, and housed 46 of them. As the weather cools down, it becomes even harder for our families without a home to receive adequate care and comfort.

We are very grateful to all our supporters who so generously supported our appeal for support of our PSH program on GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day 2021 on Wednesday July 14, 2021. We had set a goal to raise $10,000 to assist at least 5 DC neighbors with household supplies and furniture when they move from homelessness into their new homes. With your help we raised $6,500!

Please note our suggested Giving Opportunities for support of Help UPO Help the DC Homeless is now giving you the opportunity to:

  • Support the unfortunate homeless who are still out on the streets of DC with lifesaving comfort items, food, clothing and protection against the elements
  • Help us raise the remaining $3,500 we need to reach our goal of $10,000 to assist at least 5 DC neighbors with household supplies and furniture when they move from homelessness into their new homes.

Keep the Homeless of DC in mind by including Help UPO Help the DC Homeless in your year-end giving. They need your help in support of improving their lives. Please make a donation to Help UPO Help the DC Homeless today. Thank you for your generous support.

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DeeDee and Vanessa - the new 1550 1st ST. building
DeeDee and Vanessa - the new 1550 1st ST. building

UPO is vital to our community, including people who experience homelessness.

Our Shelter Hotline team protects people who live on the streets. We check on their health, drive them to shelters and cooling centers, and give them lifesaving items.

UPO also helps them move into permanent stable housing. And you can help.

This summer, thanks to our development partner TM Associates, UPO’s Affordable Housing division, led by Director DeeDee, is delivering new, high-quality affordable apartments at 1550 1st St. SW. UPO’s Permanent Supportive Housing program (PSH),  led by Director Vanessa, which helps people facing homelessness, will add wraparound services to help people lead stable, productive lives. PSH experts have housed 35 clients since the pandemic began and will be the onsite case managers in the new building, helping residents who earn 30% or less of the area’s median income.

UPO’s expert help is so valuable to people who just need a second chance:

  • The help Trina, received from UPO was everything to her. Life had always been difficult for Trina; she searched for solutions to her housing needs and emotional needs. UPO’s case managers found her a home and listened to Trina about her day-to-day struggles to let her know she was being heard. Trina says this support “changed my attitude … UPO gave me a better life.”
  • At one point, LeRoy had given up hope, saw himself as a failure, and thought about giving up on life. But he sought help, and soon connected with his UPO case manager who asked him, “What can we do to make your life a little better?” LeRoy responded that he needed a place of his own. So his case manager helped LeRoy achieve that goal. “UPO actually took me off the street,” he says. That’s what restored his hope.

As UPO paves the way to stability and self-sufficiency, we know that it is extremely challenging for people to move into a home when they haven’t had one. They need assistance to buy the simplest household supplies and furnishings. They deserve the basic comforts that we take for granted.

With your generous support, we can reach our goal of raising $10,000 to assist at least 5 DC neighbors with household supplies and furniture when they move from homelessness into their new homes.

Together, we have a great opportunity during

GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day 2021!                                                                 

You can donate from 9:00 AM EDT to 11:59 PM EDT on Wednesday July 14, 2021 with Matching Funds of $400,000 available — but these will only last until 1:00 PM. The following matching structure will apply while the funds last:

  • Donations of $100 - $499 will be matched at 15%
  • Donations of $500 - $749 will be matched at 30%
  • Donations of $750 - $1,000 will be matched at 50%

Please plan to make your donation by 1:00 PM EDT to guarantee that your donation is matched.

Your support is valuable and gifts of any amount and any time will be most welcome. We’re just offering this special chance to get a “bonus” added to your generous donation.

Thank you so much!

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The homeless population in DC has benefited tremendously from the increased availability of COVID19 vaccine. As of April 23, 2021 at total of  4,323 doses had been administered to individuals experiencing homelessness and staff across the shelter system. In addition over 315 unsheltered individuals were fully vaccinated. It was noted that 89% of shelter staff and clients due for second doses went back and received it. Overall, there is recognized reduction in the amount of COVID-19 positive cases amongst individuals experiencing homelessness as well as increased numbers willing to take the vaccine – realizing the health benefit of the vaccine's protection against COVID-19.  

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) and partnering providers across the homeless continuum have been working collaboratively with Unity Health Care to make the vaccine administration easily accessible to the Homeless Community. Although, there remain ongoing concerns in lieu of the continued pandemic, there is a collective sense that the threat of the pandemic is gradually receding among the homeless – the availability of the vaccine being a major factor. 

We are hopeful that we will witness a more significant reduction in COVID-19 cases as a result of more individuals receiving full vaccination in the coming weeks and months.

The 2021 Point in Time Count of Homeless (PIT) in DC was conducted on January 27, 2021:

  • On any given night there are 5,111 homeless persons in the District of Columbia: 681 unsheltered persons (i.e. persons “on the street”);
  • 3,352 persons in Emergency Shelters; and
  • 1,078 persons in Transitional Housing facilities.

The results of this year’s PIT count show that the total number of persons experiencing homelessness in the District decreased by 19.9 percent from 2020, and family homelessness decreased by nearly 50% since last year and by 68.1% since the 2017 PIT count. Homelessness among unaccompanied individuals also decreased 2% between 2020 and 2021. Though small, this drop is significant in that it is the first decrease among unaccompanied individuals in five years. See attached Comprehensive Report.

While the public health emergency has had an impact on system inflow, investments in prevention, housing, and creating more efficient programs are having an impact.

Shelter Hotline fulfilled numerous asks from DHS for transporting clients under unique circumstances during the critical months of the pandemic. We continue to work towards enhancing our customer service capacity to effectively meet the needs of a diverse homeless population through diversity training and effective utilization of Language Line/Interpreter Services and remain committed to our mission of providing critical lifesaving support to individuals and families experiencing homeless in the District.

To date Help UPO Help the DC Homeless has raised more than $34,800 to fund life-sustaining comfort items we distribute to the DC Homeless. We sincerely thank each one of our 349 Project Supporters who have helped us reach this point.

We would like to reach our current Goal of $50,000 by July 31st, 2021 to secure our funding to the end of the year.  Please consider renewing your support to Help UPO Help the DC Homeless today and please tell your relatives and friends about our lifesaving work.

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Organization Information

United Planning Organization

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @UPOinDC
Project Leader:
Mervyn Myers
Washington, DC United States
$48,285 raised of $55,000 goal
 
732 donations
$6,715 to go
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