As the demand for homeless services in Lansing continues to increase, funding to support the region’s most vulnerable people becomes extremely important.
The New Hope Community Center is hosting its annual Homeless No More fundraiser Feb. 27. Money raised accounts for a large portion of donations for the entire year, explained Sharon Dade, the facility’s associate director.
Funding the wide range of services at the center, which include food, cooked meals, health care, housing support and many others, is always a challenge.
“Homeless No More is the most important event we do for these services to ensure they continue,” Dade said. “It really does fill the gap in funding for our services.”
Demand for Services
That funding goes a long way, considering the demand for homeless services. New Hope follows a housing-first strategy that has eliminated barriers for anyone seeking shelter. Through a myriad of services people get housing as soon as possible. Once they have a place to stay, staff can offer many of the other supports, like nutrition and health care.
“Poverty itself is the killer and this is the most severe poverty of all,” Dade said of the chronic homeless population visiting the center.
The center uses many services to keep people off the streets. Those services range from beds at the shelter and emergency hotel lodging to various levels of housing and rental subsidies.
Additional services are also offered at the health clinic and dentist services, which are important when trying to keep people from returning to the streets.
“All it takes is one bad health episode and they’re homeless again,” she said.
A food bank and soup kitchen help keep everyone fed as well, providing the healthiest meals whenever possible. Staff do their best to include fresh vegetables and dairy products every day on a limited budget.
“You can’t have homeless people here and not feed them,” Dade said. “They don’t have any other sources of food.”
Need for Funding
Providing a full spectrum of services comes at a hefty cost. That’s why staff at New Hope Community Center are constantly writing for grant programs to ensure funding for vital programming continues.
Donations are also an important component when it comes to maintaining program levels. To get the necessary funding, staff collect donations all year. But the Homeless No More event is the biggest fundraiser of the year.
There are many ways people give during the annual campaign, including six sponsorship packages. Those different levels of donations range from Immediate Needs sponsorships ($1,000 to $2,499) at one end of the spectrum all the way up to Champion Sponsorships ($50,000 or more).
By attending the event, people learn how much money it takes to pay for services. The also learn how donations go a long way to feeding a family of three or more for a day.
Single tickets for the Homeless No More event, which is held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., cost $125. People can book anytime here.