Our Best Year Yet!
Dear Friends and Family of AAHS,
What a year we've had in 2016! In addition to our Barber Street shelter, our Rapid Re-Housing program, our Homeless Prevention program and our Financial Literacy program, we opened a second site of 18 apartments to shelter homeless families. This year saw the culmination of nearly a decade of collaboration with community partners, resulting in tripling our capacity to shelter families in need. We are so proud of the teamwork and perseverance that went into opening the ARCH Village, particularly at a time when family homelessness is so very prevalent in our community.
This past year we provided shelter, housing and financial literacy to over 500 people in Athens-Clarke County. We sheltered mothers and children fleeing family violence and other challenges, re-housed families living in their cars or on the street, prevented other families from reaching such dire straits, and provided financial literacy workshops to the community via a number of partner agencies. Perhaps most importantly, we provided employment assistance, education assistance, financial literacy and all around holistic support to all of our families, instilling the skills necessary for independence. What we are most proud of at AAHS is that well over 80% of families that complete our programs successfully retain their housing.
We are ending the year packed with donations of food and clothing and supplies; it's been a truly generous season and we are filled with gratitude for such support. I'm sitting in my office at Barber Street, listening to chaos throughout the building - the kind of wonderful chaos inherent to children during the holidays: laughter and shouting and running feet and crashes and bangs and more laughter and more shouting. In spite of the fact that these children are technically homeless, we are able to provide the stability and security necessary for such carefree joy. I wish each of you could hear these sounds; by contributing your time and/or money this past year, each of you have played a role in our ability to grow with such health and strength and to help so many families. Your time and effort truly make a difference, and I hope you will hold this close through the rest of the holiday season.
Because the work does not stop. In spite of our increased capacity, the need in Athens is overwhelming. Our wait list currently numbers over 100 families. Close to 500 Clarke County students have been identified as homeless this school year alone. Your continued support directly impacts the number of families that we are able to assist. We are deeply grateful for your help in 2016, and look forward to your continued support in 2017 as we strive to overcome family homelessness in Athens.
Wishing you the very best in the new year,