Helping Utah's most vulnerable

VOA Impact

January 2015

Point-In-Time Homeless Count Helps Find and Assist Those Most Vulnerable

 Every year, Volunteers of America (VOA) joins the State Community Services Office to take a physical count of all homeless individuals across the state at one point-in-time. Throughout 2015, staff at VOA and our partner agencies will use this information to accurately define the scope of need in our community and to track and follow up with these individuals, ensuring that those most in need receive help. 

This three-day effort will begin on Thursday, January 29th and continue through Saturday, January 31st.  Outreach teams will meet each morning between 4:00 a.m.– 7:00 am, during which time they will have the opportunity to thoroughly explore a designated geographical area for the three days of the street count portion of the survey.

The value of conducting such a count on an annual basis enables the community providers to better direct funding and services throughout the state. This 3-day effort provides an unduplicated count of homeless persons, helps shed light on the patterns of service use, measures the effectiveness of homeless programs, and determines the needs and gaps in services across the state.  Click here to learn more about the project OR sign up HERE to get involved with this year’s Point-in-Time Homeless Count. 

Client Story: Nicole Finds Hope at VOA

Becoming homeless at the age of 16 wasn’t new to Nicole.  She had been homeless on and off from the time she was six years old. When her mother was released from prison, Nicole was returned to her care, but it wasn’t uncommon for Nicole to be left alone for up to three days.  Nicole just stayed put and her mother always returned.  However, when Nicole was 16, her mother never returned.  Nicole made her way to Volunteers of America seeking help.  She then entered into the state’s Foster Care system.  After unsuccessful attempts with a few group homes, Nicole hit the streets again, pregnant, and alone.  She stayed at the YWCA and worked with her case manager at VOA to successfully secure housing for herself and her son. Today, Nicole is working on getting her GED and works afternoons at a local retail store.  She hopes to attend college in the future and give her son a better life.

Volunteer Spotlight: IconoCLAD Gives Back by Donating to Homeless Youth

 IconoCLAD, located at 414 East 300 South in Salt Lake City, offers new and secondhand clothing as well as local arts and crafts.  Tom Sobieski, IconoCLAD owner says, “We sell your previously rocked stuff and you keep 50%!” And, when items just don’t sell, he brings them to VOA’s Homeless Youth Resource Center where local youth struggling with homelessness can get basic need items to help them along their path to self-sufficiency.

Other Stories:

Fill the Pack Provided 200 Backpacks Full of Basic Need Items

Once again this year, close to 100 teens lined up outside the Homeless Youth Resource Center on the first day of distribution, patiently waiting to receive a backpack filled with supplies to help them cope with living on the streets. For many of them, the backpack was the only gift they received this holiday season. A holiday surprise and a home-cooked meal provided by Lance Dunkley, a Volunteers of America Board Member, rounded out a day aimed at helping these kids survive a difficult life on the streets. Thanks to your efforts this year, we had enough in-kind donations to fill more than 200 backpacks with necessities and a small holiday gift.  Every client at our Homeless Youth Resource Center received a pack filled with hand warmers, hygiene items, a hat, gloves, a fleece blanket, socks, a first aid kit, and a gift card for food.  A number of the backpacks were also provided to our clients at our Adult Detoxification Center.  Thank you for ensuring we could provide a wonderful holiday for the clients we serve. 

Candy Cane Corner Made the Holidays Sweeter for 609 Utah Families

For the past 17 years, Volunteers of America has co-hosted Candy Cane corner to help Utah families during the difficult holiday season. The Road Home, YWCA Salt Lake, and Volunteers of America, Utah, work together so families participating in our shelter and housing programs can have gifts for their families. Parents come to Candy Cane Corner with their case managers and select gifts from the store. This gives them an opportunity to “shop” for clothing, toys, and household items donated by our community. Every child and adult receives a new outfit, and children also receive toys, books, and a stocking. Each family then selects a needed household gift like a set of towels or an alarm clock—simple items we take for granted. This year, we’re proud to share that we served 609 families at Candy Cane Corner, almost 200 more than last year. The program only exists because of you and your generous support. Thank you! 

High Schools Raise Awareness for VOA's New Homeless Youth Center

Volunteers Help Spread the Word!