By Irit Umani
2015 was a year of stability and growth for Trinity Center. There were no changes to staff and to my knowledge all are planning to continue. I am deeply grateful to Emily, Diane, Lindsey, David as well as to our contracted security guard Tory and our AmeriCorps Volunteer Alex. Two years of no change in staff gives a sense of stability and continuity. Their level of dedication and professional conduct are commendable.
In the second half of the year we were able to increase the $ amount in our budget for financial assistance programs. More for ID documents, additional budget item for long distance travel and improving the kitchen and replacing some old and falling apart furniture. The food that we serve is also better, some due to two Einstein Bagels and Royal Blue, some to purchasing more and better food.
We received two new grants this year: One from the new Episcopal Health Foundation and the other from the Gallogly Family Foundation. Our yearly fundraising event was successful beyond expectations. I am deeply grateful to all who supported Trinity Center financially this year, individuals, families, churches and foundations.
We don’t count the exact number of individuals who come to Trinity Center. However, about 800 individuals receive their mail at Trinity, so it is an educated conservative guess that we see at least twice this number of neighbors in a year. Trinity Center had 23,300 ‘visits’ from neighbors this year (duplicated number) and we served over 19,500 meals.
Volunteers: It is because the dedication of our many volunteers that Trinity Center can operate with a staff totaling 4.5 positions. Trinity’s volunteers prepare and serve meals, manage and serve the women programs on Monday and Tuesday, help people in applying for needed documents, offer devotion, manage the use of computers, are available at the front desk and, hold supportive and inspiring conversations with the neighbors that we serve. Simply put it will take significantly more paid staff without the dedicated volunteers. They often tell us that they feel like receiving more than giving. To us they are true givers. THANK YOU one and all!
792 volunteers were involved with Trinity Center in year 2015 for a total of 6,608 hours!
53 volunteers came for a weekly shift throughout the year, totaling 4,466 hours
562 came with their churches to serve on Sundays, for a total of 1,686 hours
96 volunteers came through Mother-Daughter teams, totaling 288 hours
56 volunteered for the Christmas Party for a total of 168 hours.
Financial assistance: Our financial assistance program is focused on things without which progress out of homelessness is not possible. This is why we chose to help with the fees for acquiring ID documents, with transportation and with medication.
858 – received fee for local ID card or DL
489 – fee for Birth Certificates
136 – Co-pay for medication
1,564 weekly bus passes, 158 monthly bus pass
121 – other documents
Additionally we spent $2,250 this year purchasing bus tickets for 35 people traveling to other cities and states.
Case Management: We recognize that it is through case management that most people move out of homelessness and into shelters and housing. It’s nearly impossible to do so without the support of a professional who is knowledgeable, connected and supportive who works together with an individual as they journey to make such a significant change in their lives. We offer case management to those who are able and willing to make such changes, upon their requests. We do so by having on staff a clinical social worker who is licensed to supervise interns from schools of social work. Trinity Center is considered by the universities and by the students as a good place for internship. In 2015 we had 7 interns and one AmeriCorps volunteer. They offered case management to 92 people; 47 women and 45 men. 24 (26%) moved to shelters
30 (32.6%) moved to housing
Collaborations: Trinity Center is very well connected and is in partnerships with all non-profit organizations in Austin that serve the population of people who are homeless, as well as with churches that serve them. We are a member of One Voice Central Texas, Ending Community Homelessness Organization and, the Cluster (of Downtown businesses and faith organizations).
We make Trinity Center’s space available to other programs, organizations and case workers for outreach and for services. The following is a list of programs and organizations that serve homeless people AT Trinity Center.
ATCIC – mental health outreach case workers – 3 mornings a week
The office of the Veteran Affairs – one morning per week.
Doyle Clinic – basic health care free clinic – every Sunday
UT school of nursing – Monday when school is in operation
UT school of social work – internships, case management
Texas State school of social work – internships, case management
Art From the Streets – free supplies art studio – 3 afternoons weekly
Challenger – street newspaper – each Wednesday afternoon.
C.A.R.E – free testing for HIV & hepatitis – once a month
Food Bank – weekly, application for food stamps
Cold Weather Shelter for Women – collaboration with St. David’s Episcopal church, emergency shelter for women on freeze nights.
10 different churches serve on rotation on our Sunday ‘worship with a meal’.
In Gratitude: I am forever grateful for the dedicated staff that makes Trinity Center what it is, by offering professional services in deeply compassionate and caring ways. With them gratitude is given to Trinity Center’s board of directors and, again, to our many volunteers.
Trinity Center receives no government funding, except for one small grant for food. Yet in the last five years we grew in budget, programs and in financial stability beyond our expectation. For year 2015, special thanks are due to the following foundations, businesses, churches and families. Highlighted here are contributors of $5,000 or more:
Ruth and Paul Connor Trust
Donald H. Hammill Foundation
Episcopal Health Foundation
Gallogly Family Foundation
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
Lola Wright Foundation
Religious Coalition to Assist the Homeless
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
Stratus Property and ACL Live
Rachael and Ben Vaughn Foundation
Betsy and Hughes Abell
Robin and Malcolm Cooper
Martha and Don DeGrasse
Rev. Judith and Lewis Jones
William and Sheri McIntire
Beth and Bryan Plater
Riki Rushing and Allan Gilmer
Robin and Gene Shepherd
Kelly and Lewis Talbert
Joining with them are some anonymous donors and so many individuals, who make Trinity Center an expression of their generosity and of their commitment to serve the less fortunate. Together we make Trinity what it is, a place where all are welcomed, respected and seen as God’s beloveds. AS YOU BLESS, SO MAY YOU BE BLESSED.
Even as Trinity Center keeps on growing in services and in number of people served, our unique approach of acceptance and compassion did not change with numbers or with intensity. We are committed to seeing His grace in each action and in each being; we are thriving to be His instrument, as we help many of our brothers and sisters improve their situation. And to all who come through our doors we offer the comfort of a community center setting, in which they feel a sense of belonging, with less judgement and more compassion. How blessed we are.
Mahatma Gandhi said: “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Indeed we repeatedly lose ourselves and find ourselves in servicing others and we are looking forward to another year of being more deeply “lost” and more deeply found in service.