ABRAHAMS TENT 2 or AT2
(a collaboration with Columbus House and AT congregations)
AT2 is the 2nd step in our work with Columbus House, taking our efforts one step beyond Abraham’s Tent to help move people into housing. Here’s how it will work. It has evolved over more than a year of discussion and planning by AT2 volunteers and CH staff.
A group of volunteers known as the Housing Support Team (HST) will offer assistance to AT participants who choose to live in a Shared Housing model, where 3-4 people combine their resources in order to afford an apartment in the Greater New Haven area. In this first year, the HST will support at least one such house for 3 to 4 men or women in each. Columbus House staff will help identify people who will be eligible and will help them get “housing ready”. The selected men, HST and a CH staff will identify an apartment and CH will manage negotiations with the landlord. Once the apartment is secured, the HST and other volunteers will make the apartment ready, furnishing and equipping as needed. As the men move in, the HST will set up their schedule, visiting the newly housed people to provide various forms of support, which could include cooking classes, money management, keeping a clean apartment, being good neighbors, connecting to local a congregation, and other needs as they arise. On-going training and communication with CH staff will be available to the volunteers, and CH staff will provide emergency back-up when needed. AT2 funds, contributed by AT congregations, will help support the apartment costs.
There are volunteer opportunities in the following areas:
Apartment readiness: Cleaning, painting, fixing-up, getting the place ready for 3-4 people to move in.
Furniture collection: With the clients, identify furniture needs and fulfill those needs through donations or purchase (mattresses in particular). Short-term storage and delivery may be required.
Welcome kits: Through donations, equip the apartment with kitchen goods, cleaning supplies, bed/bath linens, etc.
Client support: Want to help clients manage a household budget? Do you have cooking skills to share? Are you skilled at conflict resolution? These are key to a healthy household, and clients could use help in these areas.
Social integration: The best support for people moving into housing after a period of homelessness and isolation is to get involved in the community. Take someone to the library, to church or temple, to the local coffee shop. Introduce them to ways of healthy engagement.
To volunteer for any one of these areas, please contact Dan Cortright firstname.lastname@example.org or Pastor Keyl email@example.com with your name, area of interest, contact information and the day /time/season of the year when you are most available. Your HST will create teams and identify co-captains for each area of support. That captain will contact you with further information and requests for support.
Thank you all for supporting people who are homeless through AT and now AT2.