Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent
Greccio Housing's Eviction Prevention Program aims to prevent the threat of homelessness or eviction to households who are experiencing a one-time major life crisis. The program offers residents experiencing a sudden job loss, major health impediment, or upset in relationship or support structure to apply to the program. If accepted, participants receive up to three months of attenuated financial assistance and a full year of intensive case management focused on changing current life predicaments. The program involves two key components: financial assistance and intensive case management. Financial assistance is intended to aid in a resident's financial redirect as they navigate new territory in understanding their adjusted situation, and can be used to assist with rental payment and/or utility assistance. Case management pairs participants with Greccio's Case Manager who works to connect residents with needed community resources like continuing education classes, employment search, or mental health counseling. Once connected with these resources, we find that residents are better able to focus on improving their circumstances.
During the last fiscal year, the Eviction Prevention Program assisted 32 households, impacting 97 individuals, including 56 children, in avoiding eviction and remaining stably housed. These households have received a total of $42,467 in direct financial assistance and over 1,000 hours in intensive case management.
Greccio's Eviction Prevention Program implemented the use of a self-sufficiency matrix survey that allows us to track employment, education, transportation, housing, food, child care, family and social relations successes as well as struggles and as a case management tool to document client progress towards stability. It serves as a self-assessment tool for individuals who wish to determine their own strengths and areas for improvement as well as a program management tool. The matrix helps the resident and Program Manager to create a road map for setting realistic goals that will make the greatest impact on their success. The Program Manager administers the matrix at intake, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after program enrollment. By using this tool, residents have direct input into determining goals and individualized steps toward their household's stability and future.
During the past 2 years we have seen overall scores improve an average of 15 points in the first three months, hold steady over the following three, and increase an average of 8 points over the next three months. These exciting results have led Greccio to implement the use of the self-sufficiency matrix across all of our programs.
Resident Resources: While personal engagement and responsiveness to individual's needs were always a part of Greccio, the Resident Resource's supportive services were formalized in 2002. This program offers the necessary tools they need to remain stably housed and make certain that residents are safe, socially engaged and live with dignity. Residents have access to Life Skills and Education Classes, Household Stabilization Services, and Community Outreach Programs. Services are offered through the Resident Resource Center as well as on-site at each of our properties. Our support services provide access to the necessary services and financial assistance to ensure the household remains stable.
Our residents work hard to make ends meet and to maintain a stable home. The support, training and education available through the Resource Center are critical for their stability. These services include, but are not limited to:
Life Skills: We provide free classes for our resident to ensure they remain stable in their homes and have the opportunity to provide their families a better future. Currently we have regular classes on cooking, health and wellness, gardening, and budgeting.
Outreach & Events: Greccio engages residents in activities that promote community by providing special events and outreach programs. Our larger programs include Adopt-A-Family, around the Christmas holiday; an Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch; and a Fall Festival. Outreach activities include Town Hall Meetings, Ice Cream Socials, Open Houses and Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies.
Garden Program: Designed to get youth and adults outside more, build a sense of community, and provide an opportunity to eat healthier. We employ a no till - no chemical philosophy for all of our gardens and have raised beds at 11 of our properties. Each year we work to increase the program to ensure all of resident have the opportunity to grow their own food.
Grab-N-Go Library: Greccio provides each property a small library which enables resident to exchange and share books. With the help of dedicated volunteers, books can be requested and changed out monthly. Research indicates that children who have access to 25 books at home will potentially finish two more years of school than children that have no books.
Emergency Services: Greccio has limited financial resources available for our residents who may need rent and utility assistance, but is available under regulated conditions. Greccio also has its own Grocery Assistance Program where residents may pick up food free of charge. Greccio can help residents get to doctor's appointments with individual bus passes upon request.
Resident Council: Our residents have a voice in the organization through our Resident Council. Members serve for one year and meet monthly or quarterly based on the projects that are voted on by the members. Resident Council also helps guide in the design of new property developments.
Scholarship: Greccio believes in the power of education. We have funds available to provide our residents the opportunity for personal development regardless of age. Scholarships can be applied for by all of our residents.
Wellness Services: Through our various healthcare partnerships, we are able to offer in-home and on-site care through our Wellness Center, as well as provide case management and assistance with resident health care needs.
Success for Greccio's Resident Resource Center activities can be many things, all dependent on the success of each resident.
Often, success occurs when a resident is stable, building a home for him/herself and family. For other residents, success occurs when they leave Greccio to purchase a home or move to traditional, for-profit rental housing. Most often, success for the Resource & Opportunity Center occurs when a resident trusts us enough to seek help, receives this help, and through this assistance becomes more self-sufficient.
By tracking the successes of each resident, the Resource Team can modify its programs and services to better meet resident needs. Each year Greccio surveys its residents to ask what services they most need and if we are meeting those needs. Greccio listens to its residents and responds quickly to best assist residents toward self-sufficiency.
Affordable Housing Program: Greccio provides housing for approximately 1,000 residents annually. As an affordable housing provider, Greccio serves those residents making 80% or less of AMI. Greccio works to reduce the housing expense burden for the residents who live with us. We provide individual units at 80%, 60%, 50%, 40%, and 30% of the Area Median Income. Potential residents must income qualify and are matched to an appropriate apartment within their income bracket to guarantee that they will not be overburdened with rent payments; ensuring their housing expense consumes no more than one-third of their gross monthly income. The Area Median Income (AMI) for a family of four in Colorado Springs is $81,600. On average, 82% of our residents live on 50% of AMI.
The Live Affordably Colorado Nobody's Home Free: A Closer Look at Colorado's Housing Crisis reports that "At the current rate of building affordable housing, it will take more than 100 years to bridge the current gap between supply and demand, not accounting for the increased demand that population growth will inevitably bring." Because of this shortage, homelessness and access to affordable housing are two major areas of constant concern within our community. In order to help bridge the gap, Greccio is diligently working to expand our portfolio through property developments as well as acquisitions and renovations. As Greccio expands our affordable housing services, it is also crucial for us to have the supportive services that will ensure our residents' success.
As discussed in the previous section, Greccio tracks many things that show two things:
1. Greccio's responsiveness to the needs of its residents, and
2. The increased stability and self-sufficiency of its residents through the many facets of the Affordable Housing Program.
Our statistics consistently show that by providing affordable, safe, and stable housing, our residents learn to trust, grow, and become financially stable. The longer a resident lives with us, while also actively accessing the resources and opportunities, the more dramatic the life changes become.