Hope 2011: 3rd Annual Community Service -Focused Event for Northwest Arkansas
Northwest Arkansas Social Indicators Community Fact Sheet
Who Participated and Where Are They Living?
On October 25, 2011 a one-stop service provision event took place in Fayetteville, AR. HOPE 2011, designed to serve those in need throughout the NWA region, was sponsored in partnership with the VA, United Way of NWA, 7Hills Homeless Center, and Central United Methodist Church.
Besides services for veterans, a range of other services were provided to all participants including: blood pressure/glucose, BMI screenings, eye exams, dental screenings, haircuts, legal aid, massages, etc. A lunch was provided through Community Meals at Central United Methodist, and the majority of participants received a bag of donated groceries, and personal hygiene items provided by 3 Bags in 2 days.
On Tuesday of last week we had the distinct privilege of serving alongside some amazing NW Arkansas organizations and incredible people to participate in HOPE NWA 2011. Final numbers will be released soon, but we are told that over 350 families/people were served during the one day resource event held at Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville.
HOPE NWA 2011 began 3 years ago by Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick, Professor and Jones Chair in Community Director, Community and Family Institute, and it is incredible to see how the community has come alongside to support those in need.
We had the opportunity to talk briefly with…
Chloe Seal, 3 Bags in 2 Days
During the bag distribution, Chloe also asked people to share their thoughts on the one thing they wanted the world to know about them. Truly beautiful to see the hope that was present in those words.
Brittney Moore of Shear Kindness & O’Shay, Owner of Black Sheep Salon
This event would not have been possible with all the incredible people behind the scenes who helped make it happen. It’s just another example of how incredible our NW Arkansas community is and the lengths they will go to to help those in need.
This past week we had the pleasure of having Mark Horvath, founder of InvisiblePeople.tv, come back to Northwest Arkansas for a short visit. Mark first visited NW Arkansas in 2009 to share his story at 1,287 Stand Up & Be Counted Homeless Awareness Rally.
Mark had an opportunity to sit down with Marian Riner, Families in Transition Coordinator for the Fayetteville Public Schools, to talk with her about how the Fayetteville Public Schools are caring for students in their school district who are homeless.
For more information on how you can help homeless families in our community, please your school’s homeless services coordinator (believe it or not, every school has one).
Veterans, homeless, and those in need in Northwest Arkansas will be served at HOPE NWA 2011 resource event. This event will provide free medical, vision, dental screening, haircuts, clothing, groceries, legal advice, and Veteran’s services.
We are excited to be participating with the community to serve our community & we are excited that InvisiblePeople.tv Founder, Mark Horvath, will be returning to NW Arkansas to serve with us. Mark has been an incredible friend to our community beginning at our 2009 “1,287 Stand Up & Be Counted Homeless Awareness Rally“. Mark has help bring awareness & understanding to the story and the faces of those in need in our community & we glad to have him return this year to serve our community.
- Helping to set-up (on Monday before the event) for the event…info on 7 Hills Center Website
- Helping to sort donations at United Way of Northwest Arkansas Gift in Kind Warehouse the week of Oct 14th
- 3 Bags in 2 Days will be passing our bags & you can help by passing out bags, collecting needed supplies & helping to pack the bags in preparation for the event.
- Shear Kindness will be cutting hair & you can help by cutting hair, assisting those cutting hair, donating supplies, etc.
- Donating Food Bags that will be distributed at the HOPE NWA Event. Sign up at 7 Hills Center Website
Please contact Kevin Fitzpatrick, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on other ways to help.
We are excited to share that this week we begin to harvest the first of our fall crops. It’s been a tough year, but this Fall has been a gift from above. We are expecting a full and bountiful crop for the next month. For that we are truly thankful.
Weather permitting, we should be able to harvest until the first week in November. However, if the weather changes, we will keep you updated on the end of year at the Cobblestone Project Farm and what that means for you.
It’s a beautiful time to be at The Farm, so we hope you and your family will have a chance to visit & join us for our Fall Harvest Celebration on Sat, Oct 22nd (click for more info).
Gary’s Weekly Update
Thanks to you, we have been able to give away 46% of our total harvest this season to local relief in Northwest Arkansas! That is 3,017 pounds of produce. To date, we have harvested 6,586 pounds of produce.
Last, but certainly not least, our Fall Harvest Party is coming up! Please join us on October 22nd from 4-8pm for a family-friendly event to celebrate the 2011 season at The Farm. This will be a time of fun and fellowship at The Farm, and will also be a time for the community to gather around what they have helped accomplish this season. We will have hayrides, kids’ activities, a bonfire, smores, and a showing of “The Great Pumpkin – Charlie Brown”. Our pumpkin patch will also be open, and pumpkins and BBQ will be available for purchase.
(Click on image below for more information)
..the Our Step program has been quietly moving forward over the past year, and this month we have the unique privilege of being able to share publicly Curtis’s story of hope.
Curtis is the 7th Our Step candidate to enter the program & it is a true honor to come alongside him during this season of his life to watch his story of hope come to life. Curtis now has a job at the Samaritan Thrift Shop, a place to call home through Our Step, and most importantly a new outlook on life.
Our Step is a collaborative housing initiative started by Seven Hills Homeless Shelter, Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, Samaritan Community Center, the University of Arkansas Community & Family Institute and the Cobblestone Project to provide people and families a point for breaking the cycle of homelessness and domestic violence by eliminating the initial costs to secure affordable housing.
For more information on the Our Step program, please visit the Our Step initiative page for more information. If you would like to become involved in assisting current or future Our Step families, please send an email to OurStep@CobblestoneProject.org. You may also donate to help more people like Curtis once again gain independence, security, and dignity.
The chickens were nesting and laying eggs in their new homes. Children were running free in what soon will be corn fields. Some were learning how to plant a potato. Neighbors were meeting for the first time. The day felt good.
(special thanks to BeGoodHumans.org for video production)
The sun came out and the winds died down. Almost 130 folks gathered under a large white tent on Saturday, May 7th for the First Planting Celebration at The Farm.
The elders of New Heights Church were on hand to pray for this large endeavor and dedicate the land to the needs in Northwest Arkansas.
Families purchased Harvest Share subscriptions and 30 more volunteers signed up to add to the over 200 that have volunteered at The Farm since March.
A special thank you to our partners & sponsors who made this dream become a reality!
Amazing things are growing at The Farm – cabbage, sunflowers, and real community.
(special thanks to Novo Studio for photographing the day)
For more information about how you can be involved in supporting the community through The Farm initiative, we invite you to visit TheFarm.CobblestoneProject.org for more information
On Monday, the Community and Family Institute is located in the University of Arkansasʼ Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice released the final Northwest Arkansas Point-in-Time Homeless Census Report.
We would ask everyone in Northwest Arkansas take the time to read the final & full report as this may be one of our greatest tools in serving those who are homeless in Northwest Arkansas.
You can download the report by following this link
Summary of 2011 Point-in-Time Census
- Numbers. It is estimated that on any given night approximately 2,001 adults and youth in Benton and Washington Counties are homeless.
- Basic demographics 437 adults were interviewed for the 2011 Point-in-Time Census. The median age of respondents was 40 years. About two-thirds of the sample, (63%) was between the ages of 25 and 54. Men comprised 58 percent of the survey respondents. Eighty-one percent of respondents were Caucasian/White, 7 percent were African-American/Black, with the remaining 12 percent comprised of other racial and ethnic categories; 7.8 percent of respondents were Hispanic.
- Housing status. While approximately 1 percent of respondents were actually interviewed on the street, interviews conducted in local soup kitchens, day centers and food banks revealed that 8 percent of homeless adults spent the previous night on the streets. The most common living situations included doubling up/staying with a friend or relative (26%),treatment facilities (20%), and transitional housing (17%).
- Family structure. Sixty-three percent of homeless persons were single adults. Of those in families, 7 percent were couples without children, 11 percent were couples with children, 16 percent were one parent families with children, and 2.5 percent were in some other family arrangement.
- Time spent homeless. The median time spent homeless was 5 months. Seventy-three percent reported that this was their first time being homeless in the last three years. More than one-quarter of those interviewed reported a second or third homeless episode in the last three years.
- Services used and service gaps. The most frequently received services were food assistance (72%), medication assistance (32%), substance abuse treatment (32%), clothing assistance (46%), case management (43%), and transportation assistance (27%).
- Regarding service gaps, the services most commonly needed, but not currently being received were: job training and assistance (24%), housing placement assistance (26%), transportation assistance (31%), and medication assistance (26%).
- Chronic homelessness. Twenty-seven percent of respondents were chronically homeless. Of the number of respondents who said they suffered from at least one chronic condition, 44 percent classified themselves as chronic substance abusers, 28 percent reported having a mental illness, 27 percent reported a physical disability, 14 percent were domestic violence victims, and 9 percent had a developmental disability. Of the total number of homeless persons interviewed, more than 20 percent reported two or more of these conditions.
- Military service. Twenty-five percent of homeless adults reported prior service in the military; nearly 30 percent of those veterans saw active combat. The majority of these homeless veterans were older, single males.
- Prevalence. Overall, the number of homeless persons in Benton and Washington Counties increased 36 percent between 2009 and 201, from 1,287 to 2,001. The number of homeless youth increased by more than 39 percent.
- Age. The median age of homeless adults was similar 41 (2009) and 40 (2011), with notable jumps in the numbers of persons age 55 and older.
- Race/Ethnicity. The racial composition was very similar to that recorded in 2009 though the diversity was less than in 2009. The number of Hispanic adults dropped slightly between 2009-2011.
- Housing status. The percentage of people making use of emergency shelter continued to decline from 37 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2009 and 14 percent in 2011. At the same time, there was a substantial increase in those reporting doubling up from 18 percent in 2009 to 26 percent in 2011.
- Family structure. In the 2-year period from 2009 to 2011, there was an increase in the percentage of homeless adults who reported being single without children, from 57 percent to 64 percent.
- Frequency and duration of homeless episodes. There was a 48 percent decline in the average number of homeless episodes in the previous 3-year period among adults, from 2.5 in 2007 to 1.3 in 2009. That number changed only slightly in 2011 (1.4). However, the median length of
homelessness remained the same as in 2009–5 months.
- Service gap. Significant gains were made in narrowing the service delivery gap in a number of areas. The percentage of respondents who reported using case management services in 2009 nearly doubled to those using it in 2011. Likewise, those receiving medical treatment in 2009 (17%) doubled in 2011 (35%). The service delivery gap continued to be significant in 2011 as it was in 2009 for job training, medication, and transportation assistance.
- Chronic homelessness. The rate of chronic homelessness among adults declined from 32 percent in 2009 to 27 percent in 2011.
- Chronic conditions. There were only minor changes in chronic conditions reported between persons reporting such condition in 2009 compared to 2011. Over 40% continued reporting substance abuse problems, and more than one-quarter reported problems with a physical or mental disability.
- Homeless veterans. The percentage of adult homeless who reported prior military services jumped increased slightly from 24 to 25 percent between 2009 and 2011.
For more information on the University of Arkansas Community and Family Institute, please visit their website at http://sociology.uark.edu/3550.php
For more information on how you can help serve the homeless people in Northwest Arkansas, you can serve with Seven Hills Homeless Center, Samaritan Community Center, Lifesource, NW Arkansas Women’s Shelter or at Laundry Love Project’s throughout NW Arkansas.
The 2011 point-in-time (PIT) homeless census in Northwest Arkansas is completed and the news, as expected, is not good. In the midst of the most significant economic downturn since the Great Depression, the number of homeless in Northwest Arkansas increased from an estimated 1,287 in 2009 to 2,001 (36%) in 2011. The rise is alarming but not surprising as service providers throughout the region report record numbers of persons being served.
More than two-thirds of homeless persons in the Northwest Arkansas region are 18 and under. Nearly one-quarter of those counted in shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens, and day centers were under the age of 18, and half of those youth were under the age of 6. These youth were identified by their parent or guardian as residing with them in a variety of circumstances including shelters, hotels, homes of friends or relatives, and even the streets (car, RV, camping, etc.).
…to read the rest of the report, please download from the University of Arkansas Community & Family Institute & the Community Fact Sheet of Results
The Cobblestone Project along with 7 Hills Homeless Center and the University of Arkansas will be posting some next steps to get involved in meet the needs of the homeless in our community. Please watch the Cobblestone Project website for additional information.
Mark Horvath, founder of InvisiblePeople.tv, has been a visible face in our community for the past two years helping bring awareness to the issue of homelessness. Through the 1,287 Homelessness Awareness Efforts, Mark has been able to break down our stereotypes, exposure the true face of the homeless and create dialogue towards change.
However, he hasn’t just been a face in our community, his time spent with us in NW Arkansas has lead to real change & the creation of some new initiatives that are making substaintial differences in the lives of people in our community. Initiatives such as Our Step, The Farm and The Cafe that are responsible for providing permanent housing, food and support structures to those in our community without.
In an effort to continue to empower those without a home, Mark is launching WeAreVisible.com to connect homeless people online and reconnect them to the world again.
WeAreVisible.com‘s mission is to give people dealing with poverty and homelessness the tools they need to get online and have a voice. The site teaches them how to sign up for email, open a Twitter account, join Facebook, create a blog and, in general, take advantage of the benefits of online social media. It also has the potential to become a model for virtual case management as it helps build a community among homeless people and support service providers.
WeAreVisible.com is a complement to the InvisiblePeople.tv video blog (vlog), which was launched in 2008 to make the “invisible people” in society more visible. Together, the two sites offer homeless people a unique opportunity to take part in the Internet revolution.
Take a few minutes and watch the WeAreVisible.com video…
Mark has made a real difference in our community and his support has made permanent changes in the lives of many. Take a few minutes to learn about WeAreVisible.com and find ways to use this tool to help strengthen relationships and connect our neighbors to services and support structures.
As a first step, Cobblestone Project will begin including WeAreVisible cards & resources to those we serve at our Laundry Love, 3 Bags in 2 Days, The Garden and Shear Kindness initiatives. We believe that these initiatives are just a first step in working creating change.
Thanks to Mark for providing us with these tools as we pursue our dream of “a Community Without Need”.