ON ORGANIZATIONAL LETTERHEAD
November 14, 2004
Mr. Robert James Vickers, Director
The Vickers Family Foundation
P.O. Box 1225
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Dear Mr. Vickers :
Greetings! [The introduction paragraph is purely to connect. . . Either 1) first- or second-generational connections/relationships, 2) geographic connections, and/or 3) field of interest connections AND/OR relationships.]
There are great opportunities to make a difference in our community, especially in helping senior citizens and single parent families. It is encouraging to know that UPS shares our interest in effectively using volunteers to make a difference in local communities. The following thoughts from a homeowner reflect that ideal very well: "I was desperate. My house was literally collapsing. It was a hopeless situation that you changed into the greatest blessing imaginable. You came and fixed my house, but that wasn't all you did. You changed my life as well."
We face a critical problem in our society. . . Substandard Housing. According to a report by the Johnson County Housing Task Force, there are close to 3000 substandard houses that exist in Johnson County, Missouri. Nestled among the busy urban streets and picturesque buildings, and the rolling countryside with beautiful residences, are homes in disrepair. They are often hard to see for those who are not looking for them.
Some of these homes are without running water. Some of them lack heat in the cold winter months. Some are homes with leaky roofs and dangerously damaged ceilings, walls and floors, or with porches and steps that are rotting away on the outside. On the inside, many have barely working appliances that are often plugged into unsafe outlets. Everywhere you turn in these homes, you are faced with health and safety hazards.
Yet what is not so easy to see is the effect these substandard living conditions have on the people who live there. Predictably, we find very little joy or dignity in these circumstances and hardly a shred of hope. That is why Homes for Homeless believes that by improving a home's physical condition, we can also improve the quality of life for its inhabitants. Our mission is twofold--repairing homes and restoring hope. As we transform a house into a home, we focus on repairs that make it warmer, safer, and drier. And as these projects are accomplished, we see a conversion in the homeowners' perception of life. Where there was once despair, there is a renewed hope, joy, and dignity.
We have over 800 volunteers who accomplish 80 percent of the repair work using a wide variety of skills and abilities. Our Repair Supervisor supports their enthusiastic efforts. His technical skills and experience enable him to perform the more complex and dangerous repairs in order to allow volunteers to focus on projects that are the most appropriate for them. We also hire professional contractors to assist us with major projects, such as replacing an entire roof or heating system. The average cost to repair a house is $5,000. If done for hire, we estimate the same level of repair could cost families $15,000. A figure far in excess of their economic ability.
We are strategically positioned and we have relationships with churches and businesses throughout the county who are ready to respond–but we need even more help. We need your help! Homes 4 Homeless has a plan that is ready and in place. The time for this initiative is now! Homeowners throughout Johnson County are trapped in substandard living conditions and are seeking help. For many, there is no hope and they are turning to us as their last resort. They want to live in a house that provides protection from the elements and one that they can be proud to call a home. They have the desire, but not the resources to make their ambition a reality.
We are prepared to assist desperate homeowners. Here's our plan for 2005. . .
1. To provide for increased work in the future, Homes for Homeless will hire a part_time Work Camp Director to expand and promote the summer Work Camp. We will also expand the Repair Supervisor position from four days to five days each week and purchase a truck for him.
2. As the organization has grown, fund_raising has become a more strategic part of the responsibility for the Board and staff. We will produce a new video focused on fund_raising to assist them in this area. And we will implement our new fund development plan, which creates a Resource Development Committee and emphasizes expanding our individual donor base, especially with monthly donors.
3. Lastly, and most importantly, we will provide 25,000 hours of volunteer assistance at 145 annual workdays, with an average of 45 volunteers on Saturday workdays. This will enable us to complete repairs on 37 homes and assist 114 families.
Our plan is in place. We are scheduling two to three workdays every week throughout the year--only one barrier stands between us and accomplishing our goals. . . adequate funding. We have assisted 250 homeowners in 15 years and there are an additional 80 in the application process. This year, we anticipate another 60 families will apply for assistance. These families NEED help and we can help them even more than we are presently able by increasing our resources.
You can help make our plan become a reality. Please review the attached proposal and support our work. I am respectfully submitting the proposal for you to consider funding. If you need additional information, please feel free to call me at 660.747.6390.
Please accept my sincere appreciation for the funding support you provide to so many nonprofits that are working to make Delaware Valley a better place for everyone to live. I hope you share my enthusiasm about the potential for our plan to have a significant impact on more low_income families living in Johnson County, Missouri. I am excited about establishing a partnership that will bear much fruit!
Doug Hodkins, Director and Founder
Homes 4 Homeless, Inc.
Homes 4 Homeless, Inc.
Mission and Vision Statements:
Homes 4 Homeless exists to improve the living conditions for low_income families. We transform substandard houses into warmer, safer, and drier homes; and despair into hope. Our services are offered to homeowners at no cost and we use volunteers to do most of the work. Our vision is to eliminate substandard housing in Johnson County. Our goal is to see the inhabitants of these homes rise above their level of poverty and experience a richness through being cared for and knowing that their circumstances matter to their community. Homes for Homeless is a faith_based nonprofit organization dedicated to making our county a better place to live. We believe that everyone benefits when people from different races, cultures, and backgrounds join together in a common purpose.
We are requesting that you partner with us to fund general operating expenses in order that we may reach more low_income homeowners living in substandard housing with quality repairs to their homes, which are accomplished by caring and compassionate people. The dynamics of our mission are:
• To provide quality services to repair homes and encourage homeowners.
• To unite people from local businesses and churches in a single focus.
• To increase the return on each dollar invested in improving the substandard housing situation.
Population and Geographic Area Served:
We assist low_income families and individuals who are below the 150 percent poverty level and reside in Johnson County, Missouri. Applicants must own and live in their homes. Most of the homeowners we assist are elderly females, single parents, and individuals with physical disabilities.
Homes 4 Homeless, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3), nonprofit organization founded in the State of Missouri in 1975. We are governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 11 members. Please see the IRS Department of Treasury 501 (c)(3) Letter of Determination that is included with this proposal.
Primary Contact Information:
Mr. Doug Hodkins, Director 660.747.6390, Voice
Homes 4 Homeless, Inc. 660.747.1111, Home
P.O. Box 1225 Email: Doug@homes4homeless.org
Warrensburg, Missouri 64093 Website: www.homes4homeless.org
Financial Request and Purpose:
The operating budget for Homes for Homeless in FY2005 is $610,000 (see page 4). The current needs of an organization like ours are substantial. We are asking The Vickers Family Foundation to help us with a grant of $10,000 to help us assist more low_income homeowners living in substandard housing. TOTAL AMOUNT REQUESTED: $ 10,000 (or any portion thereof)
Evaluation and Accountability:
The progress and effectiveness of Homes 4 Homeless is determined by ongoing analysis and oversight by management staff and the Board of Directors. We are committed to integrity and willing to complete any reasonable evaluation measure that our funders request.
Our plan is in place. We are scheduling two to three workdays every week throughout the year. We have assisted 250 homeowners in 15 years, and there are an additional 80 in the application process. This year, we anticipate that another 70 families will apply for assistance. The only barrier to additional implementation and expansion is financial.
Homes 4 Homeless, Inc.
Statement of the Problem:
Johnson County, Missouri. . . quaint country inns, old covered bridges, expansive farms, and stone barns paint a picture of peace and tranquility. The 18th century homes and wooded glens, breathtaking fox hunts, and many homes of exquisite beauty testify to the county's wealth and elegance. This is the land of opportunity for careers, recreation, and culture for many who reside in Missouri's richest county.
Although this portrait of Johnson County is picturesque and inspiring, it is not yet complete. There is another view that must be considered. Homes gutted by fire, leaking roofs, collapsing floors, families without heat in the cold, winter months. . . porches and steps rotting away. . . these are the jarring images that cast a dark shadow in stark contrast to the tranquil beauty and charm of the other Johnson County.
Within the county, one in four African American kids live in poverty and one in three Latino children live in poverty. Both of those populations are growing dramatically. And near the center of Johnson County lies the City of Centerview, the poorest municipality in the county.
A 1987 report by the Johnson County Housing Task Force stated there were close to 3,000 substandard houses in the county. Since that time, no new statistics have been gathered, but our information shows that number continues to increase. Since 1989, over 500 low_income homeowners have applied for assistance from Homes for Homeless. Our yearly requests have grown from a low of 13 to a high of 98.
Our Solution and Program Description:
Homes 4 Homeless, Inc., a faith_based nonprofit organization, was founded in 1975 to address the needs of Johnson County homeowners who live in substandard housing. These families are faced with health and safety hazards everywhere they turn. What is not so easy to see is the effect these living conditions have on the people themselves. Predictably, we find very little joy or sense of dignity in these circumstances and hardly a shred of hope.
That is why Homes 4 Homeless believes that by improving a home's physical condition, we can also improve the quality of life for its inhabitants. Our primary focus is to extend God's love in a tangible way to families living in substandard housing by working with them to make their homes warmer, safer, and drier. Most of the homeowners we assist are elderly females, single parents, and individuals with disabilities. In our first fifteen years of ministry, we have focused exclusively on the needs of families in the areas around Centerview and West Johnson. During that period, we have improved the living conditions for 250 families, and established the basis for continued service to many neighborhoods.
Volunteers accomplish most of the work during our 140 yearly workdays. Our Repair Supervisor supports their enthusiastic efforts. His technical skills and experience enable him to perform the more complex and dangerous repairs in order to allow volunteers to focus on projects that are the most appropriate for them. We also hire professional contractors to assist us with major projects, such as replacing an entire roof or heating system. This enthusiastic team of volunteers and professionals labor side_by_side to accomplish whatever is needed to improve these houses that are in disrepair. The work we provide includes roof repair, plumbing installation and repair, electrical rewiring and code compliance, heating installation and upgrades, insulation and drywall work, fire restoration, and floor repair.
Our Strategic Plan _ Methods and Procedures:
Homes 4 Homeless exists to improve the living conditions for low_income families. We transform substandard houses into warmer, safer, and drier homes; and despair into hope. Our goal is to see the inhabitants of these homes rise above their level of poverty and experience a richness through being cared for and knowing that their circumstances matter to the community.
The majority of the repair work is accomplished by our 800+ volunteers on one of our 140 yearly workdays. These workdays are organized as follows:
• Saturday Workdays _ We hold workdays every Saturday, year_round. These workdays are the backbone of our work. On average, 30 _ 40 volunteers from a variety of backgrounds and skill levels arrive at our warehouse and are divided into smaller crews who are assigned to a Homes for Homeless Work Crew Leader. Generally, there are enough volunteers to send to six to eight homes where they accomplish a full day of home repair work.
• Weekday Workdays _ Homes for Homeless is fortunate to have a committed group of retirees that work every Monday. They focus on emergency repairs and technical projects that are not appropriate for unskilled volunteers on Saturdays.
• Summer Work Camp _ Each summer we hold two one_week Work Camp sessions in Centerview for church youth groups and their leaders. We also host a one_week adult Work Camp.
• Corporate Workdays _ This opportunity is a growing part of the Homes for Homeless volunteer experience. There are increasingly more local businesses and corporations who are encouraging their employees to participate in workdays for the purpose of team building and to encourage their employees to "give back" to their communities.
Organizational Background and History:
Homes 4 Homeless is a faith_based nonprofit organization dedicated to making Johnson County a better place to live. We believe that everyone benefits when people from different races, cultures, and backgrounds join together in a common purpose. We assist low_income families and individuals who are below the 150 percent poverty level and reside in Johnson County, Missouri. Most of the homeowners we assist are elderly females, single parents, and individuals with physical disabilities. Applicants must: own and live in their homes, have their taxes paid, meet our financial guidelines, and be involved in some way in the repair process.
These homeowner families are trapped in desperate situations. . . substandard living conditions with no resources to make the needed repairs. Their only option is to adapt their lives to these unsafe and unhealthy conditions. Although adapting can be seen as a positive trait, it also can create hopelessness over the long_ term. Applicants are screened very carefully to identify the "neediest of the needy". They are required to return an initial intake form and then meet with a volunteer to discuss their family situation and repair needs. Our Applications Coordinator does a thorough evaluation, including verifying all income sources and checking credit history.
Homes 4 Homeless 2005 Budget (in thousands):
I. Staff Salaries, Wages, Benefits, Taxes, Workman's Compensation 249.8
Director (1.0 FTE)
Administrative Assistant (.5 FTE)
Applications Coordinator (.5 FTE)
Assistant Director/Construction Supervisor (1.0 FTE)
II. Office Space, Utilities, and Equipment 13.3
III. Program Support (Expenses Related to Workdays and Repairing Homes) 276.7
IV. Material Development (Supplies, Publicity, and Printing) 12.1
V. Fund_Raising 8.0
VI. Supplies (Phone, Postage, and Office Supplies) 21.4
VII. Insurance 10.6
VIII. Miscellaneous 18.6