ON ORGANIZATIONAL LETTERHEAD
November 14, 2004
Mr. Robert J. Vickers
The Robert J. Vickers 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.]
"The true reflection of society can be seen in the way that it cares for the elderly,
the poor and needy, and the homeless." Hubert H. Humphrey, 1968
More than one-third of the adult homeless population have served in the Armed Services. On any given day, as many as 250,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters, and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year. Many have families that are effected by their situation, as well. Other veterans are considered near homeless or at risk because of their poverty, lack of support from family and friends, and dismal living conditions in cheap hotels or in overcrowded or substandard housing.
More than 17,000 homeless veterans live right here in Missouri.
Right now, the number of homeless Vietnam era veterans is greater than the number of servicepersons who died during that war--and a small number of Desert Storm veterans are already beginning to appear in the homeless population. At the same time, scientific studies indicate that there is no significant, direct connection between military service, service in Vietnam, or exposure to combat and any increased risk of becoming homeless. In most age groups, veterans are no more likely to become homeless than non-veterans. Family background, access to support from family and friends, and various personal characteristics (rather than military service) seem to be the strongest indicators of risk of homelessness.
Almost all homeless veterans are male (about two percent are women), the majority are single, and most come from poor, disadvantaged backgrounds. Homeless veterans tend to be older and more educated than homeless non-veterans. But similar to the general population of homeless adult males, about 40% of homeless veterans suffer from mental illness and (with considerable overlap) slightly more than half suffer from alcohol or other drug abuse problems. Roughly 40% are African American or Hispanic. Barnabas Missionary Fellowship is not only concerned about homelessness among this group of Americans, but we are committed to making a difference in helping homeless veterans to gain housing, access available social services, reestablish credit worthiness, and re-integrate into society.
We are embracing the challenging opportunities that are before us! We are strategically positioned, we have a history of helping homeless veterans, and we have a plan to help even more in the future. Veterans are calling out for our help–they are flocking to us for help! And we are ready to respond--but we need help. We need YOUR HELP!
We are extremely excited about one of the initiatives we’ve been using for two years now, the Project Veteran initiative. We believe it to be the "cutting edge" in developing and empowering veterans to get back on their feet. We believe this to be a great opportunity, also, for a foundation to make a small investment that will generate incredible amounts of long-term returns.
The time is NOW for this initiative! Many veterans are turning to us. They are asking for our expertise. We are prepared to assist them. Here’s our plan . . . We want to renovate and place 50 homeless veterans and their families during 2005. We are aggressively pursuing our Project Veteran initiative and begin assisting more veterans as we move into the winter and spring. We will assess their needs and empower them with an individual plan that will help them with everything from basic living skills to reestablishing credit. We will help them to gainfully access available social services and, most importantly, assist them to get into a home thorugh either short- or long-term rent, low up-front-cost purchase, or whatever other means we can.
Our plan is in place. We are remodeling houses, recruiting homeless veterans, scheduling seminars, consulting trips, manuals, assessment instruments, writing time, and can put the Project Veteran initiative into full implementation within 30 days.
Only one barrier stands between us and accomplishing this initiative. . . adequate funding. Barnabas Missionary Fellowship is well positioned to help. Our staff has accumulated more than 120 years of business and ministry experience, have placed over 30 veterans and their families to date, and are strategically positioned to accomplish our plan to place 50 more veterans and their families by the year 2005.
You can help make the Project Veteran initiative become a sustained reality. Please consider the following proposal as a creative way of making that happen. I am eager to discuss this proposal with you and stand ready to provide any additional information which will assist you in your decision making. I am available immediately and at your call: (660) 747-6390 or 1-888-Barnabas.
Dylan Lawrence Martinelli, Executive Director
Barnabas Missionary Fellowship
Barnabas’ "Project Veteran" InitiativeSummary Page
Barnabas Missionary Fellowship exists to assist veterans to find and maintain jobs, improve daily living skills, develop and utilize budgeting skills, and hold veterans accountable to responsibility. We assist veterans to clean up their credit, find low-rate rentals, and to purchase their own home with low-entry costs. We provide opportunities for veterans to gain housing, reintegrate into society, and avoid homelessness situations. We accomplish these tasks by providing active follow-up and aftercare, staying actively involved in their lives, and by providing a "safe place" for veterans to come and discuss the difficulty of their situations. Our trained people are highly involved with our clientele.
This proposal requests that you partially fund the "Project Veteran" initiative. The "Project Veteran" initiative allows for an ongoing relationship between Barnabas, veteran service providers, and veterans in the Missouri. The dynamics of the "Project Veteran" initiative are to:
• Develop an alliance in the area with other veterans-assistance groups to avoid duplication in services provided.
• Refer veterans to existing resources and services--intervening as necessary.
• Assist with job training and job placement, case management, and transportation.
• Assist veterans re-integrate back into society by cleaning up their credit, helping them to find and maintain jobs, and develop "responsibility skills."
• Help veterans with low-rate rentals and long-term leasing of housing.
• Increase the return on dollars invested in not-for-profit work with veterans in the area.
There are two ways a veteran has need for our assistance: when they are progressing out of the Continuum of Care (entered the cycle but has been successful and needs help with this final step in re-integrating back into mainstream society) or when they have been successful in the past but, for a variety of reasons, are in the process of falling back and losing their home–we are able to catch them in a "safety net." We intervene with these immanently homeless veterans, assist them to repair their credit, and help stabilize them to get back on their feet. Although some of our work is national, our focus is Missouri.
Barnabas is in contact with over 30 agencies with more than 5,000 veterans who are in immanent need of our assistance. At least 50% of the veteran’s are ready for assistance–many are members of minority, ethnic, or cultural groups. We have particularly committed to assist veteran’s although we assist the poor and needy, other homeless, and single mothers and their children.
Barnabas Missionary Fellowship is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1990 and is governed by a board of directors of four.
Mr. Dylan Lawrence Martinelli, Director (660) 747-6390, Voice
Barnabas Missionary Fellowship (660) 111-2222, Cell
P.O. Box 1225 E-mail: dylan@Barnabas.net
Warrensburg, MO 64093 Website: www.Barnabas.net
The "Project Veteran" Initiative will cost $ 241,400. However, we are asking for a grant of $ 30,000 (or any portion) to be matched and supplemented by Barnabas and other funding sources. This will allow us to immediately implement the program and lay the groundwork for on-going work with homeless veteran’s in Missouri (see Page 5). TOTAL AMOUNT REQUESTED: $ 30,000.
Evaluation and Accountability:
Because we are committed to integrity, we are willing to complete any reasonable evaluative measure that you request.
"Project Veteran" Initiative
Homelessness among America’s veterans is staggering. On any given day, as many as 250,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters, and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year. Right now, the number of homeless Vietnam era veterans is greater than the number of service persons who died during the war–and a small number of Desert Storm veterans are also appearing in the homeless population. Northern Minnesota experiences a significant homeless veteran population due to the heavy concentration of military bases and facilities.
While most homeless veterans are single males, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development reports a significantly increasing number of homeless families with children. While many are physically without shelter, others are considered near homeless or at risk because of their poverty, lack of support from family and friends, and dismal living conditions in cheap hotels or in overcrowded or substandard housing.
Homelessness is not caused merely by a lack of shelter, but involves underlying, unmet needs–physical, economic, social, and spiritual. Dealing effectively with problems of homelessness requires comprehensive systems of housing and necessary services for each stage–from emergency shelter, to transitional housing, to permanent housing with supportive services as needed, together with a strong prevention strategy.
There is one powerful solution to this societal dilemma. . . Caring people who are willing and able to help our homeless veterans. Founded in 1990, BARNABAS Missionary Fellowship (BARNABAS) is an ecumenical, Christian housing ministry. By October 1998, we had acquired, renovated, and provided approximately 150 homes for sale to first-time home buyers below 115% of the median family income, and 50 homes as safe, affordable rentals for homeless individuals and their families. Thirty of these homeless shelters are designated for homeless veterans or their families.
We are successful in our homeless program because of our ability to partner with existing non-profit and private sector organizations to meet specific needs of homeless families. Our facilities remain affordable to the homeless (rent is based on income) in large part because of on-site labor by volunteers, support generated by churches, contributions (labor, land, in-kind, and financial) from professionals and corporate sponsors, and individual tax-deductible charitable contributions.
Our Vision and Plan:
Our vision is to find permanent solutions to homelessness. Permanent solutions are achieved by working with existing community-based services designed to address the needs of homeless individuals and families. Our programs work to complement the homeless programs in our service area.
The centerpiece of our policy on homelessness is HUD’s Continuum of Care. The primary goal of the Continuum of Care approach is to assist homeless individuals and families to move to self-sufficiency and to permanent housing. A Columbia University study concluded that these homeless policies "have had a positive impact on communities across the nation" and were an improvement from past efforts that focused on short-term emergency shelter. The three key elements of the Continuum of Care: 1) Emergency Assistance, 2) Transitional Housing, and, 3) Permanent Housing. Our plan successfully reaches across the Continuum of Care to address homelessness.
Emergency Assistance. While many are physically without shelter, others are considered near homeless or at risk because of their poverty or lack of support from family and friends. Project Veteran works to prevent homelessness of very low-income individuals or families who cannot make the required rent, mortgage, or utility payments due to a sudden reduction in income or other financial emergency. Our outreach and assessment efforts inform individuals and families about the availability of services, brings them into the Continuum of Care system, and determines which services or housing are appropriate to the needs of the individual or family. We make referrals for sub-populations of the homeless (such as homeless veterans, families with children, battered spouses, persons with mental illness, persons who have chronic problems with substance abuse, and persons with other chronic health problems) to the appropriate agencies, programs, or other services necessary to meet needs.
While we do not specialize in emergency shelter services, we currently provide housing facilities to partnering nonprofit organizations to use as emergency shelters. The partnerships combines the specialized nonprofits’ expertise in providing direct relief services with our ability to acquire, renovate and provide facilities. These facilities are provided at deep discounts for partnering nonprofit organizations.
Transitional Housing and Services. We are particularly strong in providing transitional housing and services. We acquire, renovate, and provide transitional housing to homeless individuals and families who would are denied access. Transitional housing and services are critical to overcoming homelessness.
BARNABAS, working with partnering nonprofit organizations and private industry, assists with job training, job placement, case management and transportation. Because we have successfully utilized volunteer labor (of various skill levels) in our housing renovations, it is a natural progression to offer job training in the construction trades to the homeless. We have recently begun a successful partnership with Prison Fellowship Ministries’ Network For Life, to provide job skills training in the renovation of affordable housing. Through the Private Industry Council, we assist in job placement for those working in the renovations and plan to increase our job training and placement efforts by adding additional trainers.
Even when individuals and families resolve the issues that precipitated their homelessness (lack of job skills, loss of job, eviction, bad credit, etc.), it is exceedingly difficult to re-enter the traditional housing market with a bad rental, mortgage, employment, or credit record. We understand homelessness and is willing and able to assist with the transition from homeless programs back to market-based rental housing.
We base monthly rents on our renovated homes on the client’s ability to pay and HUD approved fair market rents. BARNABAS also helps qualified families apply for Section 8 or other financial assistance. Individuals and families will generally rent transitional housing for 12 to 36 months while they address the issues that led to their homelessness or keep them from permanent housing. BARNABAS’ plan is to increase its transitional housing to homeless veterans and their families by 50 homes.
Permanent Housing. Permanent housing is often the most difficult aspect for those overcoming homelessness. BARNABAS’ Project Veteran assists individuals and families in identifying appropriate rental and home ownership housing options. We assist clients in identifying affordable housing or landlords who accept rental assistance payments (e.g. Section 8 vouchers or certificates). BARNABAS helps our transitional housing clients clean up their credit and provides the appropriate landlord and credit references for our clients to gain permanent rental housing.
BARNABAS believes home ownership instills pride, accountability and roots in families. When clients become qualified, we assist in purchasing affordable housing. Because our homes are renovated with "sweat equity," we can assist with down payments and closing costs to make the dream of home ownership possible. Our plan is to provide an additional twenty-five homes for sale to self-sufficient families on long-term lease options.