DENVER — Thursday, March 7, 2013 — The State of Colorado announced today it will partner with the Salvation Army to expand the successful One Congregation - One Family (OCOF) model into additional communities. Beginning this summer, the Salvation Army will start the OCOF program in Glenwood Springs, Greeley, Pueblo and Vail and will work with Trinidad and Cortez by the end of the year.
The expansion of the OCOF program, outlined in Pathways Home Colorado, is part of Colorado’s ongoing efforts to replicate best practice models, support regional priorities and become more strategic in preventing and ending homelessness. In 2005, the OCOF was developed by The Denver Rescue Mission to address the needs of homeless families and seniors in the Denver area. Since then, more than 2,600 individuals have been mentored by more than 350 congregations. Of these families, more than 87 percent maintained stable housing after the first year.
“The success of the OCOF model comes from its collaboration between government, faith communities, non-profits, local leaders and businesses,” said Lt. Col. Dan Starrett, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army’s Intermountain Division.
Last year, 99 mentor teams from 22 congregations were formed in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Grand Junction. Under the OCOF model, mentor teams meet with families and seniors over a seven-month period and provide a first month’s rent and deposit as well as individual support and guidance. Additionally, service agencies provide case management, refer client families and secure background checks while local governments connect partners and encourage organizations to form mentor teams.
“The combination of life skill mentoring with direct assistance allows individuals to forge lasting connections within their communities,” said Karla Maraccini, Director of Community Partnerships for the Governor’s Office. “Providing resources around issues including parenting, budgeting, goal setting, nutrition, and literacy helps to bring families and seniors back to self-sufficiency.”
A Statewide Clergy Council, representing a diverse group of faith communities, was formed to help guide the OCOF program. The list of clergy participating include:
“I want to applaud the One Congregation - One Family program on its simplicity and resourcefulness. Reaching the needs of the ‘least of these’ with resources from local congregations and the community is a powerful combination,” said Richard Godsil, Executive Director of Common Ground Montrose
Mentor teams are formed from local businesses, non-profit organizations or any group of individuals interested in helping those in need. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and State Farm provided support and valuable contributions to expand this program.
About the Family and Senior Homeless Initiative
The Family and Senior Homeless Initiative (FSHI) is Denver Rescue Mission’s unique permanent housing and self-sufficiency program that provides homeless families and seniors with short-term financial assistance, case management and mentors from the faith community as they transition into permanent housing. In as little as two to three weeks, a homeless family or senior is placed into permanent housing with financial assistance, and is given a support structure that will help them maintain their housing. This support structure includes case management, as well as a mentor team who come alongside the families and seniors to encourage them, help them work toward their stated goals, and teach them financial management skills. The majority of families and seniors successfully involved with the Family and Senior Homeless Initiative maintain their homes.
About the Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to http://www.imsalvationarmy.org/.