As we prepared to move into Community House last November, our staff saw the opportunity to do things differently in our programs. For example, we are shifting our focus to provide more than simply a bed or a meal. We want to help the people in our community become self-sufficient and break the cycle of dependency on social services. Essentially, we want to make it so that people don’t need agencies like EECM any more. To that end, we have renamed our Housing Services I.M.P.A.C.T.S (Individuals Making Progress and Change Toward Self-Sufficiency), grouped all of our residential, adult education and employment programs under this umbrella, and added a new component – Work Therapy.
The I.M.P.A.C.T.S. Program encompasses all of EECM’s services designed to help individuals move toward self-sufficiency, including our educational, employment, and residential programs. Our case managers and volunteers help individuals break the cycle of addiction, poverty and homelessness by giving them access to the resources they need to achieve their goals.
Many of the people we see in our East End neighborhoods have struggled throughout their lives with barriers which have prevented their keeping consistent and gainful employment. These barriers include mental health issues, substance use disorders, chronic poverty, lack of education, and incarceration. Kellie Wild, IMPACTS Programs Director, and her staff saw this as an opportunity to make a new impact and meet these needs in our community. The two biggest additions to EECM are the adult education and employment programs and our Work Therapy program.
EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS
Education and employment are paramount to becoming self-sufficient. Our education and employment programs help individuals- both those staying in our housing and from the community at large- overcome their barriers, identify the many gifts and talents they have to offer an employer and be prepared to highlight those qualities on their resumes and in an interview.
WORK THERAPY offers individuals the opportunity gain both hard and soft job skills. The goal of work therapy is to create an environment where one can overcome their personal barriers to learn, grow and move towards a level of self-sufficiency that permits living as a contributing member to the community. Employment leads to improved self-esteem, hope, and relationships and correlates with decreased illegal activity, physical problems, and homelessness.
The programs you think of when you think of our Housing Programs still exist, almost exactly as they did before we called them IMPACTS Programs. We still have some beds on the second floor of Community House specifically for Emergency Shelter, for men and women (!) who are looking for overnight shelter. We also have several 4-person suites for a Short-Stay housing program, where men and women can stay for up to 6 months while they work with our staff on a personalized plan to help them become more independent and self-sufficient. FAITH, Bridge, Safe Haven, and PennFree Housing Programs are still running, off-site, and just the way they always have been. The name change from Housing to IMPACTS just signifies that all of these programs are seeking to do more than just give shelter, but help our neighbors find their way back to a more independent and self-supporting life in our community.
Community Connections Center
Reading and Math Classes
Computer and Life Skills Training
Resume and Job Interview Workshops