Permanent Supportive Housing to experience transition, growth in 2017

casc

An architect rendering of the Commons at South Cumminsville, a National Church Residences Permanent Supportive Housing community that will break ground in Cincinnati later this year.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

National Church Residences’ Permanent Supportive Housing portfolio is set to experience both transition and growth in 2017.

With the retirement of Dave Kayuha, the organization’s longtime Chief Administrative Officer who has overseen PSH since its inception in 2003, a plan was put in place to transition the portfolio into Affordable Housing under the direction of Steve Bodkin.

“I’m proud to be part of Permanent Supportive Housing, a mission that serves such a critically vulnerable population,” said Steve, who is the Chief Operating Officer of National Church Residences Housing Division. “I look forward to working with this dedicated, talented, and caring staff to continue driving mission impact.”

Since the Commons at Grant became National Church Residences’ first Permanent Supportive Housing community, the portfolio has expanded to nine PSH communities with a total of 885 units in Columbus, Toledo and Atlanta.

In 2017 the program will expand yet again when Cincinnati’s Commons at South Cumminsville breaks ground.

“Commons at South Cumminsville is the result of a long history of National Church Residences trying to build Permanent Supportive Housing in Cincinnati. It dates back to 2008,” said Amy Rosenthal, National Church Residences Senior Project Leader. “We’ve had our struggles and hiccups, but now we have a home in a community that has welcomed us.”

Commons at South Cumminsville will house 80 PSH units in a building located on Herron Avenue in the northern Cincinnati neighborhood.

“We have a non-profit, Working in Neighborhoods, that has been a great help to us,” Amy said. “Now we have this welcoming community that sees the need for supportive housing in Cincinnati and see that this project will put a positive spotlight on their community, too. They really understand how our supportive housing communities change people’s lives.”

The $15 million new construction project is expected to break ground sometime in late 2017.

New Book Tells Story of Imperial Hotel’s 16-day Occupation

imperial-4

On June 18, 1990 a group called People for Urban Justice broke into the abandoned Imperial Hotel to hang a sign that said “House the Homeless Here!” The event turned into a 16-day occupation that raised awareness to the plight of Atlanta’s homeless.

 

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

ATLANTA – The banner read, “House the Homeless Here!”

It was a simple act of civil disobedience, meant to draw attention to Atlanta’s lack of housing for the homeless, that turned into a 16-day occupation launching a decades-long movement in Georgia’s capital city.

“Atlanta was razing buildings for sports stadiums and parking lots. Funding was going for glamorous projects instead of affordable housing,” said Terry Easton, author of the new book Raising Our Voices, Breaking the Chain, which chronicles the events surrounding the Imperial Hotel occupation that began on June 18, 1990. “This group, we call them the ‘Imperial Eight,’ they were trying to bring attention to this.”

The eight activists were from a group called People for Urban Justice (PUJ). It was part of a larger organization called Open Door Community, which provided services for the poor and homeless in Atlanta.

“They were trying to bring attention to the lack of affordable housing in Atlanta,” Easton said. “At the time there were an estimated 10,000 homeless people in the city.”

The Imperial Eight broke in to the then-abandoned century-old Imperial Hotel and hung their banner from two of the building’s highest windows in an attempt to draw attention from the media and the mayor’s office.

Today, now known at National Church Residences Commons at Imperial Hotel, the building is a permanent supportive housing site that provides housing for 90 formerly homeless residents of Atlanta.

“I think it’s really wonderful that out of this act of courage and bravery, for these folks to go in and occupy the hotel and actually get something out of it, it’s wonderful,” said Easton. “I think it’s a good lesson for people that sometimes it’s worth the cost.”

To celebrate the release of Raising Our Voices, Breaking the Chain, Easton and two members of the Imperial Eight, Eduard Loring and Murphy Davis, will make an appearance at Commons at Imperial Hotel on Saturday, December 10 from noon to 2 p.m. for a book signing, stories about the occupation and a tour of the beautifully renovated facility.

“(The book) is an authentic, powerful, moving retelling of an epic time in the history of Atlanta when the issue of homelessness was taken to another level because homeless activists and advocates said, ‘enough is enough,’ and occupied the Imperial Hotel,” said Rev. Timothy McDonald III, Pastor at the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta. “This occupation caused the city fathers and business community to rethink how it addressed the issue of homelessness, and, if only for a season, housing the homeless and affordable housing was on the lips of the powerful.”

By the end of the 16-day occupation nearly 300 homeless people had entered the vacant building alongside the activists, and Open Door Community had moved its morning breakfast service inside the hotel.

“Once they were all inside the activists were very clear that they wanted the homeless people to have a voice. The homeless people formed a leadership group and they called themselves the Executive Committee,” Easton said. “They’re the ones that went to the negotiating table at the end of the occupation and negotiated with the City of Atlanta.”

Mayor Maynard Jackson met with the Executive Committee and the members of PUJ to discuss what needed to be done to help the homeless in the community.

“It really forced the mayor and his staff to do something about it,” said Easton. “What PUJ wanted was 5,000 promised units of affordable housing. By the time it ended it was 3,500 that was promised. We’re still not up to that number today. It’s been a slow process, but there has been affordable housing created that has come directly from this. You don’t always get what you want, but something is better than nothing.”

Easton will have copies of his book available for purchase at the Imperial Hotel event Saturday in Atlanta. Those who wish to purchase the book elsewhere can do so for a $10 donation by contacting Easton at Terry.Easton@ung.edu.

Easton is an Associate Professor of English at the University of North Georgia. He was not a member of the Imperial Eight, but was contacted by PUJ document the history of the event.

National Church Residences currently offers more than 1,200 units of affordable senior housing and permanent supportive housing in the Atlanta metro area.

imperial-3

terry2

Terry Easton, author of Raising Our Voices, Breaking the Chain

imperial-exterior-1

National Church Residences Commons at Imperial Hotel today.

‘Richwood desperately needs your hope…’

Colton

Volunteer Colton Naylor helps unload a van of supplies brought to Edgewood Village from the National Church Residences home office in Columbus on Friday, July 1.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

RICHWOOD, WV – “Don’t take the high road. That’s where they had a lot of the damage,” Kim Carpenter, the property manager at Edgewood Village, told me over the phone as my rented van rumbled slowly down Route 39. “Take the lower road. That’s Edgewood, where our building is. It’s a little bit clearer.”

It had been nearly a week since 10 inches of rain battered Richwood overnight, causing the Cherry River to overflow its banks and put much of the city under water, but the cleanup was still ongoing.

Earlier in the week, the staff at the National Church Residences home office in Columbus began gathering donated food, water and supplies to send to Richwood to aid the residents of Edgewood Village, a 34-unit low-income senior community that the organization has managed since 1991.

The outpouring of donations was nothing less than amazing.

In two days the central office staff pulled together enough supplies to completely pack a 9-foot UHaul van that I, along with my fiancée Kristen, would drive to the building on July 1.

Six hours after leaving Columbus – one road closure at the heavily-flooded community of Belva, and one delay due to road damage on Route 39 between Summersville and Richwood, later – we were nearing our destination.

Turning down Edgewood Avenue and heading toward the city, the views were contrasting: At first, neighbors working together to clean out a home, hauling waterlogged furniture out into the yard. Then, a house completely off its foundation, washed over the cliff that overlooks the river.

This wasn’t my first visit to Richwood.

My journalism career started in southern West Virginia in 2001 and I’d stumbled upon the Nicholas County city of about 2,000 when I’d been sent to do a story about the Cherry River Festival – a quaint street fair the city held each year.

Though I’d only been there less than a dozen times, I’d always had an affinity for Richwood. Walking down Main Street, you can feel Richwood’s history around you. It is easy to feel the bustle of the mountain boom town it once was in the 1930s.

But the closure of the sawmill, the clothespin factory (once the largest in the world) and the nearby coal mines drove its residents elsewhere looking for work. Richwood lost a quarter of its population in the 1950s, and then another 21 percent in the 1980s.

Richwood had struggled throughout its history, but the people who remained were proud of their city and worked hard to keep it alive.

When I began working for National Church Residences in the winter of 2014, I noticed that Edgewood Village was one of ours. I remembered seeing the building the last time I was in town. I wondered if I’d ever have a reason to pay it another visit. I had hoped I would. I never thought it would be on these terms.

As we pulled up out front of Edgewood Village, it was obvious that our residents were luckier than some others in Richwood. The flood waters had rolled downhill from the higher elevated north end of town toward Edgewood Village, which sits in the valley nearer to the Cherry River, and deposited inches of thick mud all around the building. Luckily, though, the floodwaters never entered Edgewood Village, instead passing just feet around the building and filling the small ravine behind it and completely destroying the Dairy Queen next door.

“We lost power when they had to shut down the sub-station down the road,” Kim Mills, the building’s maintenance technician told me. “But luckily, just last year we purchased a generator for the building.”

Kim let his residents know that Kristen and I had arrived and a small group of them met us at the front door of Edgewood Village to help unload the truck. At the same time, Tim Naylor, a friend and former co-worker of mine from Fayetteville, WV, arrived with his son Colton to volunteer their help.

Within an hour our truck was unloaded and the building’s community room was overflowing with supplies.

A few at a time, residents began to sort through the donated goods, modestly picking out only what they needed – leaving the rest for someone else who they probably felt was worse off than they were.

With a long trip home ahead of us, Kristen and I paused to take a few photos inside the building before walking the few blocks up into the center of town to get a first-hand look at the damage.

The journalist in me wanted to document the devastation to spread the word to a larger audience about what had happened. But I had no desire to be intrusive. I took photos only of the National Guardsmen working to clear the debris and the glaring signs of destruction left behind when the water receeded.

The Oakford, a small tavern on Oakford Avenue, the city’s largest north/south running street, had its door open. As I approached it a man stepped outside to tell me, “We’re closed indefinitely. But I think she’s open a few doors over.”

Just two people sat in Carolyn’s, a pool hall a few buildings north on Oakford Avenue.

“The flood started up on the hill and rolled down. All the houses up there, the water just went right through them,” the woman behind the bar said. “My house got it bad.”

Still, though, on that Friday afternoon, she was at work.

Kristen and I sat for just a brief conversation before we began the nearly 300 mile journey back home.

It took some time over the long weekend to let everything I’d seen soak in. It felt good to help. It felt good to have made the journey and done something – anything – that might have made a difference. It’s still hard to tell myself that anyone could do enough.

It’s hard to know that people are still digging out from the mess, still pulling their destroyed furniture and belongings into the street to be hauled away, still dealing with the feeling of helplessness that was dumped on them along with millions of gallons of water.

Today I received an e-mail from Kim Carpenter updating us all on the situation in Richwood and thanking those of us at the central office for our kindness.

“Richwood still looks like a war zone, with river rock lining the sidewalks and streets,” she said. “Cleanup will take months. The local Rite Aid has passed out flyers saying they will be rebuilding here in town. I have no heard anything about the Dollar General store, or whether the new grocery store will continue to rebuild. Most residents of Richwood did not have flood insurance, and those that did had limited coverage.”

She added that the donated items will greatly help the residents of Edgewood Village who now are without any local stores where they could buy everyday items.

In the last week, Edgewood Village has filled two vacancies with Richwood residents who lost everything in the flood.

One family, the Marlowes, had been in the same house for 60 years.

“The flood completely demolished their home,” Kim said. “They were in water up to their necks and climbed the stairs to their attic. I believe they may have been there for over 24 hours, perhaps even longer, before they were rescued.

“During their initial application process (to live at Edgewood Village), Mrs. Marlow’s only concern was that they lost their beautiful gardens.”

West Virginia still needs help. I encourage you to donate to the National Church Residences foundation, the Red Cross, the United Way or any of the countless charities set up to help.

“Thank you for continuing the Mission, as the City of Richwood desperately needs your hope, compassion and daily prayers,” Kim said. “God bless you all!”

Kim Mills

Edgewood Village maintenance technician Kim Mills rolls a cart full of donated items into the community room at Edgewood Village.

046

The West Virginia National Guard was still working at cleanup efforts a week after the flood that tore through Richwood.

011

The mud that covered the parking lot at Edgewood Village in Richwood, West Virginia, is now a large pile of dirt sitting in the building’s parking lot.

012

Edgewood Village in Richwood, West Virginia.

016

A portion of the donated items after being brought into the community room at Edgewood Village.

Alley

Items damaged during the flood in Richwood were dragged out into the streets awaiting removal by the crews from the National Guard.

Richwood Sign

Welcome to Richwood.

Unloading the Van

Unloading the van.

US

National Church Residences Media/Public Relations Specialist Lance Cranmer and his fiancee Kristen drove the van full of donated supplies from the central office in Columbus to Edgewood Village in Richwood, West Virginia.

055

National Guard dump trucks haul away debris from the flood while a single childrens’ sandal lies next to the street looking south on Oakford Avenue in Richwood, WV.

 

Program brings food to central Ohio seniors in need

Meadowview 1

Residents at Meadowview Village Apartments in Mount Sterling, Ohio, sort through donated food last week. Each resident that signs up can walk through and pick up groceries.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                          LCranmer@NationalChurchResidences.org

COLUMBUS – April Huber watched as her residents filed in to the community room five at a time holding bags and baskets, waiting their turn to walk through and collect their supply of donated food.

“It doesn’t matter if we have one thing to give or 1,000 things … everything helps,” said April, the Senior Property Manager at National Church Residences Lincoln Gardens.

Three years ago, April secured a monthly food donation from the Mid-Ohio Food Bank to benefit the 100 low-income seniors who live at Lincoln Gardens.

“For some of them, as little as $343 is their monthly income. Some only get $16 to $32 a month in food stamps,” April said. “Having this food, especially at the end of the month, is such a help. This means a lot to them.”

April said she initially got the property on a waiting list with Mid-Ohio Food Bank, a non-profit that has served Central Ohio on the mission to end hunger since 1980, before becoming a regular once-a-month stop.

Seeking to help another National Church Residences property that was in great need, April made an additional request to Mid-Ohio to see if the organization could help Meadowview Village, located roughly 25 miles away in rural Mt. Sterling, Ohio.

“When we asked Mid-Ohio Food Bank if we could take food down there, even though it is in Madison County, they said sure,” April said.

Tammy Justice began her career at National Church Residences working under April at Lincoln Gardens. A year ago she made the transition to becoming the Property Manager at Meadowview.

“April recruited me,” Tammy said. “She knew this property and she knew the needs of the community. Now that we are at full occupancy, there’s an even bigger need.”

Nearly two years ago the only grocery store in Mt. Sterling, a community with a population of less than 1,800, closed down leaving Meadowview residents without a nearby place to get groceries.

“A lot of our residents don’t drive,” Tammy said. “The nearest store is probably in Washington Court House, which is about 20 minutes away.”

Tammy said when Meadowview residents are able to make grocery runs, they make sure to take care of each other.

“If one is going to the grocery store and they have a neighbor who doesn’t have a car,” she said, “they knock on their door and ask if they need anything or if they want to go with them.”

Having the food brought straight to their building, however, is a Godsend.

“They get a 5- or 10-pound bag of potatoes, some onions, fruit, milk – they get between $50 to $80 worth of groceries,” Tammy said. “For one person who lives alone, that’s pretty good.”

Since she arrived at Meadowview, Tammy has helped multiple formerly homeless into the building. She said, at first, getting them back on their feet is a challenge.

“They don’t have money for things like groceries,” she said. “The donations we get from Mid-Ohio Food bank are such a big help for them.”

According to information released by the Mayo Clinic, currently 10 million Americans aged 50 or older are considered “food insecure,” meaning that they do not have reliable access to food.

A 2014 study conducted by Feeding America found that seniors who suffer from being food insecure are at higher risk for chronic health conditions and depression. Food insecurity has been found to be a strong predictor of health problems in seniors as it leads to reduced muscle mass, lower bone density, poor vision and an increased likelihood to report heart problems.

April said the monthly food delivery to Lincoln Gardens has been very important to her residents.

“These are the people programs like this are meant to benefit,” she said.

“You’ve got people who will come up to you two or three days from now and just say, ‘thank you for the food,’” added Tammy. “I think it’s a big help.”

Meadowview 2

Meadowview 3

Food from the Mid-Ohio Food Bank is first delivered to Lincoln Gardens (pictured here) and the surplus is later driven south to Meadowview.

Free program helps Permanent Supportive Housing residents train for careers in IT

TyrenThompson1

Commons at Livingston resident Tyren Thompson graduated from the Per Scholas program in Columbus on March 11. Here he received his certificate and pin from instructor James Miao.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS, Ohio — About a year ago Tyren Thompson was facing some tough times.

“I had lost my apartment in May 2015. I was struggling for a little while,” he said. “Then someone suggested I set up an appointment with National Church Residences.”

Tyren, a United States Army veteran, quickly found a new home at Commons at Livingston, National Church Residences’ Permanent Supportive Housing facility in Columbus that is dedicated to providing housing for formerly homeless military veterans.

“They put me in with other veterans and I was thrilled with that,” Tyren said. “It’s been a great experience. They have a lot of services that are offered.”

Among those services available is career training.

Delrita Parks, the Employment Coordinator for National Church Residences Permanent Supportive Housing residents, suggested to Tyren that he enroll in Information Technology classes in a program called Per Scholas.

“Per Scholas is a national nonprofit organization that trains people for life-changing careers at IT professionals,” Delrita said. “The program’s focus is on helping unemployed and underemployed people get a career started in IT, which leads to their A+ certification and assistance in job placement with local companies and IT staffing agencies.”

Tyren graduated the program on March 11, 2016 and participated in the Graduation and Pinning Ceremony at the Per Scholas facility in Columbus.

After graduation he had a moment to reflect on the hard work he put in over the last year.

“I’ve worked very vigorously to get this done,” he said. “Getting up early, studying hard, all of those things.”

In his life, Tyren, who is 32-years old, has always worked hard to overcome adversity. He arrived in Columbus a decade ago from his native Louisiana after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Now that he has graduated, Tyren said his next goal is to land a job in his field.

“Per Scholar benefits our residents because it’s a free program and trains for jobs that exist in a given market based on market data,” Delrita said. “This program is ideal for any resident who has been economically displaced but has the drive and aptitude to succeed in IT. National Church Residences is proud to have graduates from Per Scholas.”

TyrenThompson5

Deltrita Parks, National Church Residences Employment Coordinator, Tyren Thompson, Sara Perrotta, National Church Residences Case Manager, and Crystal Branch-Parms, National Church Residences Team Leader.

 

The Happiest Place in Housing! Dayton’s Lyons Place II

Lyons Place Horizontal

Lyons Place II Property Manager Shari Hoosier (center) and her happy residents. Lyons Place II, located in Dayton, Ohio, has the best overall resident satisfaction rating in all of National Church Residences affordable housing properties.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                                 lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

DAYTON, Ohio — Walt Disney may not appreciate calling it, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” but it is certainly the most satisfied spot in all of National Church Residences.

Lyons Place II, a 55-unit affordable senior housing facility managed by National Church Residences located on the campus of the Dayton (Ohio) VA Hospital, celebrated its first anniversary in April with the knowledge that it has the highest overall customer satisfaction rating in all of the organization’s properties.

“Imagine that,” said Francis Jensen, a Navy veteran and the very first resident of Lyons Place II.  “This is a wonderful place to live. From the get-go it’s been a Godsend. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

A nationwide survey based on nine components – readiness to solve problems, responsiveness, property appearance/condition, quality of management services, quality of leasing services, quality of maintenance service, property rating, relationship rating and renewal intention – gave Lyons Place II an overall satisfaction percentage of 97.1 percent.

“This translates to happy residents and speaks clearly to our Mission,” said Pam Monroe, National Church Residences Vice President of Property Management. “This quality and level of service is a key factor in building customer loyalty and keep them at the property.”

Shari Hoosier was hired in February 2015 to become the Property Manager at Lyons Place II – bringing with her 17 years of experience in the housing field.

“My philosophy is to try to make it a place where I would want to live,” Shari said. “I wanted a place with a great quality of life and a peaceful environment where people get along and they help each other.”

Being located on the grounds of a VA hospital, Lyons Place II naturally attracted several military veterans to become residents.

“I came for an appointment at the VA and I saw they were building here,” said Melvin Garland, a Marine veteran who moved in last April. “I checked into it at the VA and they got me hooked up. It’s a good location. It’s a safe building. We look out for each other and we have a good time.”

Shari said that several of her residents had struggled with homelessness or had lived in places where they weren’t free to live the way they wanted.

“They did not have their independence,” she said. “This building gave them their independence back. It’s theirs. And it’s an independent environment.”

“The word ‘independent,’ that is a blessing. They don’t hover over you. They’re a helping hand when you need it,” said Harold Owens, Sr., who moved in shortly after the building opened.  “You can go to bed a 9 if you want. You don’t have to turn the TV off. I can watch SportsCenter as much as I want to. I do whatever I want to. For a few years you can say I’m doing it my way!”

Charles Wright, a retired business owner who just turned 80, said that he’d lived in other facilities in Dayton, but he never felt at home until he arrived at Lyons Place II in July.

“I couldn’t get acquainted with others (at the other buildings). I came here and within a week’s time I had the whole building around me,” he said. “My kids told me, ‘Dad, it’s really nice to see you happy again.’”

Shari said that a big part of what she and the rest of the staff at Lyons Place II try to do every day is to let the residents know they’re cared for.

“Showing love. Just the act of kindness. Asking how they’re doing. Asking if they need any help,” she said. “If they feel loved, they show love to each other.”

“I’ve been half-way around the world and that’s the one thing that is world-renowned: kindness,” Harold said. “One morning I was depressed and I was coming out of my apartment and I passed by the maintenance guy and he just said something nice to me. It uplifted me. I told him thank you. He didn’t even know why.”

Charles agreed that the staff at Lyons Place II makes all the difference.

“The staff here, no way in the world you could beat this staff. No good reason to even try,” he said. “If you have a problem, they’re on it like stink on a skunk.”

Shari said that when she accepted the position at Lyons Place II she prayed that the people who needed this positive environment the most would find it.

“I got the unique opportunity to meet every resident as they applied. I prayed that God send the people who truly need to be here,” she said. “Since we’ve been here, every service that we’ve needed we’ve gotten. People have donated clothes, food. Every need has been met. That’s a blessing.”

Thinking about the last year he’s spent at Lyons Place II, Francis had one final thought.

“I ain’t going nowhere else but here,” he said. “I’m home. That’s it.”

First ‘Philanthropy Boot Camp’ teaches employees about fundraising opportunities

Philanthropy Boot Camp

By LANCE CRANMER                                                               lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Kimberly Shields was one of hundreds of National Church Residences employees in the crowd at last April’s Puhl/Sanchez Regional Conference listening to the National Church Residences philanthropy team’s “Philanthropy Road Map” presentation.

When it ended, the audience was asked which of them would be interested in learning more about finding ways to raise money in their community.

“I was so excited at the presentation. I threw my hand up,” Kimberly recalls with a laugh. “After I did that I thought, ‘What did I just get myself into?’ But I’m so glad I did it.”

Kimberly, the Service Coordinator at National Church Residences Boardtown Village in Starkville, Mississippi, ended up being one of a select group chosen to participate in the first-ever “Philanthropy Boot Camp” program.

“It lived up to the hype,” Kimberly said.

Launched in the summer of 2015, the Boot Camp pulled together 10 properties from Regional Vice President Todd Puhl’s portfolio to participate in the 12-week program.

“Each week a different topic was covered relating to philanthropy and volunteerism and the participants received specialized training on these topics and more,” said Stacey Kyser, National Church Residences Senior Director of Volunteer Services and Annual Giving. “They were also offered one-on-one coaching to assist them with the specific needs of their individual property and how to identify and work with the potential funders within their community.”

Stacey, who facilitated the program along with other members of the National Church Residences philanthropy team, said that every other week the 10 properties joined in on a conference call and in weeks between received a personal follow-up call to discuss how that lesson directly related to them and their property.

“What we really emphasized here is that it’s about making relationships and being an advocate for your property in the community,” Stacey said. “For reasons, even beyond philanthropy, it’s important for people to be involved in the community and committed to outreach to find donor and volunteers that can help meet the needs of the residents. Ultimately, though building these relationships you start learning about other opportunities that can lead to finding resources for your property.”

Stacey said that the individual approach was very important because rarely do the needs of one property perfectly align with the needs of another.

“Different communities have different make-ups,” she said. “The funding opportunities are different. It really does boil down to knowing your property and what’s available in your specific community.”

Starkville, for example, is a community of less than 24,000 people about two hours northeast of Jackson.

“We are definitely in a small town,” Kimberly said. “When we were in the classes I would hear people talking about the opportunities they had and I knew I’d have to go over 100 miles to find an opportunity like that. But (the instructors) made it so that whether you were in a small town or a big city, there were still ways to get resources.”

Sixty-four National Church Residences properties applied to be part of the first Boot Camp and 10 were chosen.

Stacey said the high number of applicants showed that many properties are interested in learning more about the ways to find resources within their communities.

“The philanthropy team is here to support them with their initiatives and provide them the tools they need to be successful in fundraising,” she said.

At the end of the program all of the participants were invited to complete a grant application and two applicants were funded through grants from the National Church Residences Foundation.

Thanks to the submission put together by Kimberly and property manager Ibia Thomas at Boardtown Village, their property received $1,000 from the National Church Residences Foundation to create a computer room for residents at their property.

“When I started here (three years ago) we had a computer room that was really, really old. We don’t have one right now,” Kimberly said. “This was such a wonderful experience. I gained a lot of skills I’ll be able to use in the future. The grant we got will be for a computer learning lab with three computers and printers and software. With the new lab we’ll be able to do classes for the residents.”

Kimberly added that with the skills she learned in the Philanthropy Boot Camp she is already actively seeking other opportunities.

“My next endeavor will be trying to get some transportation for my residents. Everything here is so spaced out and we need some transportation,” she said. “I’m actually looking forward to another grant and now I feel I have the tools to apply.”

Brooks Manor in Charleston, West Virginia, received the second Foundation grant and received $1,000 to expand socialization opportunities for its residents.

A second Philanthropy Boot Camp is scheduled for this spring. Stacey said those interested can inquire by e-mailing philanthropy@nationalchurchresidences.org for more information.