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Douglas/Elbert Task Force
MISSION STATEMENT: The DouglasElbert Task Force endeavors to meet the immediate needs of residents of Douglas and Elbert County who are in financial distress and/or at risk of becoming homeless, to help them work through troublesome times with dignity.
Our agency provided over $1.1 million in assistance to residents of Douglas and Elbert Counties who were in financial crisis and facing homelessness in 2013.
Our agency was voted "Best Local Non-Profit," "Best Thrift Store," and "Best Store to Buy Books," by readers of the Douglas County News Press in 2012 and 2013!
Treasures on Park Street, our amazing thrift store, accounts for about 27% of our revenue, and is truly a treasure trove of wonderful merchandise at rock bottom prices!
In 1984, Castle Rock churches joined forces to create a centralized location to send people in need, and to encourage volunteerism by providing opportunities for their congregations to become directly involved with their community. The Douglas/Elbert Task Force is a 501(c)(3) non-profit human service organization dedicated to providing assistance to people in Douglas and Elbert Counties who are in serious economic need, at risk of homelessness, or in similar crisis for 30 years. We own a building at 1638 Park Street, which houses our Food Bank, thrift store and Client Service Administrative offices. Of the 14,740 people served at the Task Force in 2013, approximately 41% were children. The D/ETF's need-based services are made possible by almost 250 volunteers and the support of our communities.
#1. Our greatest need is for continued financial support and donations to maintain our food bank, which feeds 86% of our clients.
Hunger happens every day. Hungry children cannot learn and overwhelmed parents need help. Receiving food from the Food Bank that would ordinarily come out of a food budget allows our clients to put that money toward paying other bills--utility bills, rent, prescriptions, or putting gas in the family car. Receiving food from the Food Bank means that children go to bed with a full stomach and wake up to a healthy breakfast, at least one week each month. Since the majority of our clients request food, this is our #1 priority.
Recent D/ETF statistics show that most of our clients,41% of whom are children, receive basic food services, including diapers, formula, and special dietary items. In 2013, we distributed $761,491 in food, hygiene and household supplies 9% more than in 2012. In addition we conduct two Off-Site Food Banks monthly at low-income senior housing units, providing approximately $75,000 of food/hygiene assistance per year to older adults in need.
#2. We need financial help to provide emergency assistance to clients in crisis to help struggling families and individuals and a growing poverty population in Douglas and Elbert counties move toward self-sufficiency.
The latest poverty statistics, indicate that in Douglas County, 4% of the population had incomes below the poverty level. Another 6.6% had incomes above the poverty level but less than 2.00 times the poverty level. Altogether, there were 29,609 people with incomes less than 2.00 times the poverty level, representing 10.6% of the County population. According to the 2014 report by the Colorado Children's Campaign, Colorado still has a high percentage of childhood poverty even with the improving economy. Many of our clients have children suffering from food insecurity.
#3. Ten per cent of our clients are older adults. We need continued financial help to maintain our offsite Food Banks at two low-income older adult complexes in Douglas County and help with items specific to elderly populations. In addition to providing essential food and hygiene supplies, the Off-site Food Banks provide an opportunity for volunteerism as residents set up and distribute the supplies, as well as a time for socialization.
We expect this number to grow as Douglas County has a high growth in the aging population with households living on fixed incomes and experiencing high health costs. By the year 2030, seniors are projected to be approximately 20% of the total County population. Source: Douglas County Planning Office- Pop. & Dev. Report, updated March, 2014.
#4. We need financial assistance to complete the renovation of our building. We have renovated about 80% of our building, and completed an energy-saving upgrade program in 2013. With the help of the community, two Rotary District grants, and a grant of $175,000 from Douglas County CDBG funds, we will finish renovating a 4,000 sq. ft. suite and have an expanded Client Services area. Moving Client Services from its current location next to our thrift store will provide clients with more privacy, and should allow us to serve about 20% more clients each day.
#5. We need volunteers to operate our thrift store, Treasures on Park Street. Treasures provides new and used clothing, household items and furniture to the community for a nominal fee. (Clothing and household items are provided free to clients). Treasures, our largest source of revenue, helps to pay for the costs associated with emergency assistance requests from unemployed and underemployed clients. Displaced workers with mortgage payments end up as foreclosure casualties as job searches drag on. Many Colorado families are barely getting by. We see these new clients daily at the Task Force.
For over 30 years, we have been providing emergency services in our community to serve low-income and moderately low-income residents throughout suburban and rural Douglas and Elbert Counties. In 2013, we assisted 14,740 clients, 41% of whom were children. Approximately 18% of our client households were new in 2013, and we continue to be challenged to serve the needs in our community and improve our services.
We impact our community by preventing homelessness--helping to keep families and individuals in their homes, food on the table and their utilities on.
We serve clients who present eviction or foreclosure notices with financial assistance in order to prevent homelessness, and help clients with security deposits to obtain new living arrangements. We provided $56,624 in housing assistance in 2013, preventing homelessness for 214 households. We also have seen constant demand in utility requests and provided $157,007 in 2013 for 595 households with disconnect notices.
We impact our growing low-income older adult community by providing a once a month Off-site Food Bank to two elder adult low-income complexes in Castle Rock. Older adult clients at Oakwood and Reyn Rock Plaza, who could not otherwise come to our Food Bank because of their physical condition or lack of transportation, can receive the food they need to survive. We estimate that this program provides low-income older adults with $75,000 worth of food and hygiene supplies yearly.
Our thrift store, Treasures on Park Street, providing new and nearly new clothing and household goods, helps fund our service mission. Treasures provided approximately 35% of our annual revenue in 2013. Treasures is staffed by volunteers and one full-time Store Manager, two Assistant Managers and a two-person donations-intake team who job share. Treasures impacts the community by providing volunteer opportunities for community residents to help those less fortunate than themselves. Store revenues totaled $364,000 in 2013. Over 39,00 items valued at $116,998 were distributed free of charge to D/ETF clients in 2013.
We also impact the community through our collaborative efforts and support from the local Castle Rock community, Douglas County Human Services, Elbert County Social Services, towns and businesses within the counties. We also extend our services by collaborating withTthe Crisis Center, Parker Task Force, local law enforcement agencies, and other smaller food banks to share and distribute food to greater numbers of Douglas and Elbert County residents. Service Organizations like Rotary, Boy and Girl Scouts and local churches provide essential volunteer assistance and contribute to our fundraising efforts.
Executive Director Statement
The Douglas/Elbert Task Force is one of only a few emergency services organizations serving clients in Douglas County or Elbert County and the only emergency services organization serving both counties in their entirety.
We are unique in that we provide immediate relief to clients who need assistance. Clients visiting our agency usually leave with something tangible--food, clothing, household goods, etc. Clients also know, generally within 4 hours, whether or not we will be able to assist with utility payments, and within 24 hours for rent assistance. We offer help with one-time unusual requests, such as GED fees, scrubs or specific work clothing, books for adults returning to school, etc.
We provide emergency lodging to victims of crime and stranded motorists and work closely with the Castle Rock Police and Douglas County Sheriff Department, which provide Task Force vouchers to homeless and transient clients who require overnight lodging or food during hours that we are closed. We also receive referrals from The Crisis Center, for victims of domestic violence, and often provide funds for changing locks, long-distance transportation, identification and emergency overnight lodging.
In addition to providing merchandise for clients, we provide in-kind donations from our thrift store, Treasures on Park Street, to other non-profit organizations, churches, schools (clothing, household items, books, videos, costumes, and theater props), and new gifts and prizes from our Birthday Room.
Collaboration plays a very important part of the work we're able to accomplish on behalf of our clients. We are fortunate to work in a community where all human service agencies work cooperatively to provide services to clients. We helped found and continue to work with The Community of Care Network, a consortium of Douglas County government, non-profit agencies, businesses, churches and individuals to develop a collaborative programming for clients living in Douglas Counties to prevent homelessness and foster self-sufficiency. We coordinate programs and information on a regular basis with all the volunteer and human service agencies in Douglas County. We meet monthly to discuss issues and update our activities and programs. This has been a very successful way to increase collaboration with other non-profits in Douglas County
In the last year we've completed some energy savings upgrades to our 17,000 s.f. facility, and will complete fire sprinkler installation throughout our building in September, 2014. We will undertake a project to complete the last unfinished suite in our building by Spring of 2015. Our renovation plans call for moving Client Services to the west end of our building into an area with a separate entrance, a more expansive client reception area and additional offices. This move will create a more private environment for clients. We will also move our Donations/Intake area to the west end of the building, creating a safer and more efficient donations drop off point.
People who are in crisis operate under incredible stress. Having a calm, warm, quiet place to come, and being greeted and made welcome by a smiling volunteer immediately diffuses some of that stress. Having the opportunity to be listened to and to be heard by staff who not only understand but who can often make a difference that day is an incredible relief, particularly for clients with children. We go through many, many boxes of tissues, and hugs are given liberally at the Task Force.
Our mission is, in part, to help clients work through troublesome times with dignity. That ideal is always at the forefront of the work we do here. Clients find "Help & Hope Here!" everyday. Visit us and see us at work!
Board Chair/President Statement