On a single night in January 2015, 564,708 people in the United States were experiencing homelessness — meaning they were sleeping outside, in an emergency shelter, or in a transitional housing program. Many individuals who lack economic stability are at risk of homelessness and, ultimately, this is because it is hard for them to afford housing. Unemployment, housing cost burden, and living doubled up are indications of this struggle. In 2014, 7 million people in low-income households were doubled up with family and friends, the most common prior living situation before becoming homeless.
Aspire Indiana works diligently to assist the homeless through four different housing programs, each having its own eligibility criteria and funding limits. The main eligibility criteria for all of our programs is that the individual or family must be homeless as defined by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department - meaning living on the street or in a shelter. Each of our housing programs is also limited by federal and state regulations about how funding can be used. For example, only our veterans program (Supported Services for Veterans and Families) offers financial resources for transportation, childcare and household items in addition to rent, security deposits and utility deposits. Our other housing programs are limited to rent, security deposits and utility deposits.
We know that the needs of many of the homeless extend beyond housing, and our Care to Share campaign will help pay for services and supplies needed by many to get fully back on their feet. These needs include hygiene products, transportation services to and from work, and work-related items like uniforms and boots. The aim of our comprehensive approach is to help individuals and families sustain housing and independence.
Donations to Care to Share will also help those individuals and families who are living doubled up with family and friends by providing assistance with security and utility deposits or rent. Care to Share funds may also allow Aspire Indiana to better link individuals with employment, thus encouraging them to maintain and promote independence through increased income.
Thank you for your generosity. It will make a difference in many lives and in the communities that we serve.
Becoming One of the Best Places to Work
Last year the leadership of Aspire, including the Board of Directors, identified 3 major priorities that would lead Aspire into the future: delivering integrated care, providing a great consumer experience and being the best place to work.
As we began focusing on becoming the best place to work, 3 overarching goals were identified: improve the health and well-being of our staff, improve the workplace culture, and improve communication throughout the organization. Based on feedback we were hearing from staff, a number of strategic initiatives were launched to help meet these goals.
To be the best place to work, we need to know and understand the wants and needs of our staff. That is why we contracted with First Person, a strategic business advisory company that helps organizations develop smarter people strategies, to help us see from your perspective what we are doing well and areas we can improve. First Person sent out a survey in October to all 500 staff. The survey touched on 7 key areas of an organization that related to our 3 overarching goals. We had an overwhelming number of responses (311 of 500 staff responded)! Thank you for your honest, thoughtful responses! By doing this, you are partnering with us to truly become the BEST PLACE TO WORK!
Aspire leadership and Directors, Managers and Supervisors (DMS) have met and reviewed the results of the survey and a plan and team are in place to take action on the findings. But we still need you! DMS are now meeting/will be meeting with all Aspire teams to review the results of the survey. We want you to know what we heard, and continue the conversation with you, regarding:
- pay & benefits
Be looking for this opportunity to give specific examples and ideas on how to build on our strengths and make more improvements! In addition to facilitated team discussions, we hope to hold focus groups, conduct 1:1 interviews and find avenues to continue the conversation. As I prepare for my new role with Aspire as CEO, I hope to personally come to all the locations to hear from you myself as well!
By the end of the fiscal year, we hope to re-survey staff and be able further measure our progress. Our goal is to apply to and win one of the Indiana workplace award programs during FY 18! Join me by becoming part of the conversation about how Aspire can be the BEST place to work!
The infograph below highlights some of the comments and suggestions that were made in the Employee Survey.
2016 Aspire Indiana Annual Report
NO WRONG DOOR
Taking care of your mental and physical health shouldn’t be a guessing game. That’s why Aspire Indiana has been focused on a “No Wrong Door” approach to the services we offer. In 2016 Aspire made significant progress towards integrating our services in a way that we can see “the whole person”, regardless of why or where our clients come to us initially. To read the report, just click on the cover photo above.