From the Executive Director:
The following is a 2013 mid-year report describing how Trinity Center is working to live its mission “to serve physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people experiencing poverty and homelessness in Austin.”
Physical needs: For homeless people who are not in shelters — the majority of this population— no other organization in Austin serves daily breakfast.
We are the mailing address for hundreds of people. We offer free access to telephones and computers in a comfortable and welcoming environment. We offer notary services and advocacy with other service providers, our partners. For women we also offer lightly used and seasonally appropriate clothes and access to showers. Trinity Center offers financial assistance focused on overcoming barriers to progress, such as help with documentations and transportation.
In the first six months of 2013 Trinity Center served/gave:
5,980 breakfasts, 1,820 lunches on Sundays and 1,250 sack lunches.
147 people received financial assistance for birth certificates, 254 for Texas IDs or driver’s licenses and 73 for co-pay for medication.
We gave 198 daily, 709 weekly and 85 monthly bus passes.
Emotional needs: Homeless people, in general, are harshly judged and little understood. We offer a Community Center setting and instill a sense of belonging, respect, deep care and compassion for all. We refer to the people who come to us as neighbors, rather than as clients, and we treat them accordingly. Often it really is about being respected and feeling the genuine care that is what we all, as human beings, crave. The people who come to us know that we care and will advocate on their behalf, and they take deep comfort in feeling welcome and embraced. Even if we have to ask a person to leave for a period of time, we do not throw the person out of our hearts. Following that period of time, we welcome them back fully.
Trinity Center offers individual case management to people who choose to receive this service with us. Our case management is the most cost effective program we have. One licensed master level social worker enables Trinity Center to have 4 to 6 interns at any given time and 6 to 10 in a year. While in case management, people receive the needed emotional support to set realistic goals to overcome barriers.
During the first 6 months of 2013, a total of 83 people were/are on case management. Of that population, 28 (34%) got off the streets: 11 into shelters, 6 moved in with family/ friends, 4 moved into Permanent Supportive Housing, 3 into rentals, 2 into section 8 rentals and 2 into Transitional Housing. And 14 (17%) even found employment. We connected with and made referrals for 44 (53%) folks with other service providers/partners agencies.
Spiritual needs: As a faith-based organization, we serve as a main outreach ministry for 14 other churches who wish to participate in our direct work with the poor and homeless population as contributors and volunteers. We offer a church service followed by a meal every Sunday. Created by and located in tSt. David’s Episcopal Church, individual spiritual counseling is available when requested. A small room is beautifully set as a chapel, and anyone who wishes to have a quieter moment of reflection or prayer can use the chapel. Each morning, before breakfast, a short spiritual devotion/teaching is offered. Many of our volunteers, and some of our staff, chose to serve at Trinity in response to an inner spiritual call. Their spiritual approach, attitude and deep care are palpable to the neighbors.
In the first six months of 2013 we had 279 volunteers at Trinity Center, for a total of over 2,500 hours. A core group of 47 people volunteered for a shift each week.
Collaboration and advocacy: Resources are limited, and we strongly believe in collaborations and unduplicated services. Trinity Center is used as a major location for outreach programs by the following organizations: ATCIC, C.A.R.E, FFH and Caritas, Doyle’s free health care clinic, The Challenger and the VA’s outreach program to homeless veterans. AustinFreeNet operates a daily computer lab with an instructor at Trinity Center with 8 available computers for about 40 users every morning. Trinity Center is the location of Art From the Streets, offering a studio and art supplies each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.
Because Trinity Center is based on a philosophy of radical hospitality and deep compassion, many of the homeless people downtown sees us as their safe haven. We host as many people as our facility can hold, and there is no shortage of need for our services.
Trinity Center’s financial audit for 2012 is clear of any requirement for changes or special remarks.
The board of directors and I, all staff, volunteers and the people that we serve extend deep gratitude for your support. We could not have done what we do daily and will not be able to continue without your support. Thank you! As you bless, so may you be blessed.
“See the light in others and treat them as if that is all you see” Dr. Wayne Dyer