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Under One Roof to continue after funding approved

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A successful end to the Under One Roof pilot project, has ensured the worthwhile community project will continue.
Randy Daley, Crisis Prevention Task Force (CPTF) chair, explained the final day for the pilot project was Dec. 23.
“We had the Christmas dinner, they served 120 plates of turkey and ham, so it went very well. Santa came, the barbershoppers came to sing some carols. It was a very good evening,” he said, adding more plates of food were delivered to people that could not attend.
The committee was aware it had approval for funding for the project in January, Daley noted, and were spreading word that evening.
“Because a lot of people were wondering if it was over,” he said, adding the program is serving about 50 people each night with more than 20 of those people new to the program.
Under One Roof will continue each Monday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Daley said, to provide a hot meal and various services provided after hours.
“We can’t specifically say what services will be there every Monday, because the agencies have other priorities, as well. But we will maintain our standards of trying to have Mental Health, AFM, Public Health, those types of things,” he said, noting a lot of agencies have attended.
“It is not just a meal, it’s also services that people can’t access or don’t get to access 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. That’s the idea. So the response has been good.”
With the success of the program, Daley explained, CPTF is in the process of setting up a subcommittee to manage Under One Roof, which will include volunteer job descriptions and a list of volunteers.
CPTF is also looking for funding for Under One Roof, he said, from various community groups or individuals interested in donating money, food or time.
Part of Under One Roof’s expenses includes a free bus service for those attending the program.
“We are doing pick ups at Happy Haven, Parkland Crossing, the community garden on the West end, Echo Housing. We do have a number of stops that people are aware of,” Daley said, adding the program also accepts calls at the church before supper.
Aside from a hot meal and the agencies, Daley said, Under One Roof is a safe, social space.
“We just mingle with people. We will sit and chat with them and we don’t have them fill out forms or ask specific questions, Just sit and talk with them and find out what’s going on in their lives,” he said, adding visitors are also asked what they need.
“We assume that people in need know everywhere there is to go to get help, but they don’t.”
The goal of the program, Daley noted, is to get the people attending, to the point where they do not need Under One Roof.
Through his mingling, Daley learned there is opportunity to share knowledge, such as discussing basic budgetting, or finding local services.
Under One Roof is being directed by the people attending the program, he said, and volunteers are beginning to see what the needs are in the community, one person at a time.
Daley would like the program to do more outreach, as the community is geared toward business hours, which is a barrier for many.
“It’s a massive issue. So what is it we’re attacking? To me, it’s not just meth, there’s a lot of people over there that aren’t using meth and aren’t drinking. Addiction is a huge issue, but some of the things we’re seeing as contributing factors to that, is just poverty in general and the inability to get out of poverty,” he said.
CPTF is working on a project to issue identification, as well, he said, as it is another barrier.
“And the other side of that coin is, we’ll help them with forms and paperwork and all that kind of stuff. That’s also another project in the works,” Daley added.
The cycle of poverty is difficult to get out of, he noted, and Under One Roof aims to help people help themselves.
“For a lot of people, this is not what they want to be. They’re not there because that’s their choice necessarily. They might have made some bad choices, but I mean, that’s not who you want to be,” he said.
Daley feels the project is starting to work, but it is too soon to provide valid statistics.
“We’re not going to be able to (provide statistics) yet and we don’t want to provide specific statistics, because that means I’ve got to start asking specific questions and that frightens the visitors,” he explained.
“We’re starting to get that trust factor built in now and they have opened up a few times.”
While it is another difficult statistic to calculate, Daley feels Under One Roof is taking some strain off of police, fire and emergency services, because there is now a place for someone to go, at least one night a week.
He anticipates the program will continue until May and the committee will assess what might be needed during the summer.
Under One Roof is looking for volunteer groups to get involved with meal preparation, cash donations, or donations of warm clothing and hygiene products.
For more information, call Daley at 204-622-2226.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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