January is always a crazy time at CVCAA. We’re fresh out of two big holidays, getting into a new year, and accepting hundreds of new utility applications from people reapplying. On top of that, on Thursday, January 26th, we will be working with our Homeless Planning Coalition to conduct our annual Point-in-Time Count. The ‘PIT’ Count, as it's commonly called, is a census of our homeless neighbors in our area to determine how big the problem is and see what steps need to be taken towards a better future.
There is a lot of preparation that goes into a PIT Count. We rely on numerous volunteers to help us go out into the community and conduct short surveys with homeless individuals who slept outside the night before or in a place not meant for human habitation, such as a dilapidated building. We also want to make sure that we are able to give these participating neighbors something in return when they take the time to talk to us, so we put together goodie bags with snacks, water, socks, wet wipes, lotion, sunscreen, and some other essentials inside.
We have three shifts people can sign up to help with on the day of the count, the first being 7:30 am-10:30 am, then 11 am-2 pm, and finally 5 pm-8 pm. We provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each shift before sending people out in teams to designated locations. The PIT Count headquarters will be at the St. Paul Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall. This is where volunteers will meet up before and after they count, and the PIT Count coordinators will be there at all times to help in any way.
To have a successful PIT Count, it really takes people from all over the community to pull together. The number of unsheltered neighbors we get from the PIT Count determines the amount of funding different entities get from the state and federal government for our homeless community. In 2022, our PIT Count returned saying there were 108 unsheltered individuals in the Concho Valley. Unfortunately, we know that number is very off since CVCAA and the Housing Authority of San Angelo share a housing waitlist with 188 homeless households on it. If you are interested in helping to make sure every neighbor counts, please sign up at https://signup.com/go/ZmnmrhR or reach out to Sidney Timmer by calling 325-653-2411.
At Concho Valley Community Action Agency, our leadership team is made up of people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. One of our youngest professionals leading CVCAA is Jasmine Black, our Community Programs Assistant Director.
Jasmine is a San Angelo native who loves nothing more than to take her beautiful daughter on walks in the park. Being very family oriented herself, she says her favorite part of her job is helping families overcome crises and become empowered to be self-sufficient. Her strong will, hard-working attitude, and caring heart make her a fantastic asset to CVCAA.
Jasmine has been with CVCAA for 4 years now, and she is helping lead Community Action into the future, not just here in the Concho Valley, but nationally as well. She was selected alongside 15 other community action professionals to attend the Emerging Leaders advocacy event in Austin, Texas, where they learned how to speak with elected officials and make sure the voices of our most vulnerable neighbors get heard. Jasmine is also serving on the Young Professionals Cohort, made up of community action leaders throughout the country. Her innovative ideas and ambition are doing amazing things, reaching beyond our region to impact so many others.
Additionally, Jasmine is one of three staff members who are ROMA Certified. ROMA stands for Results Oriented Management and Accountability. The ROMA cycle is designed to assist agencies in ensuring their programs and activities are effectively meeting the needs of the communities they serve. The cycle includes evaluation, planning, implementation, achievement of results, and evaluation. To become ROMA certified, candidates complete several months of coursework and must complete a full evaluation and pass a national test. ROMA-certified professionals are also required to recertify annually. ROMA-certified professionals in our agency help us all to better understand our achievements and ways that we can improve, ensuring that CVCAA is always striving to better serve our neighbors.
With Jasmine’s help, we have had an incredibly successful year and served a record number of unduplicated individuals throughout the Concho Valley. She says that she just wishes more people in the community knew who we are and what we do! Jasmine said, “I feel like we have grown and increased our presence in the community so much since I’ve been here, but there are still so many people in the Concho Valley that could use our assistance that don’t know we exist.”
A Commitment to Helping People, Changing Lives
Whew, what a whirlwind the last few months of 2022 turned out to be. As you may know, CVCAA moved offices from our 12-year home in the basement of the Cactus Hotel to the Concho Suites. Though we still have a few more offices to move, our staff didn’t miss a beat in offering much-needed assistance to individuals and families in the Concho Valley. In fact, 2022 saw the most individuals ever assisted by CVCAA…over 8100!!! The Concho Valley area has 7335 households in poverty and CVCAA is working with a large number of those in need.
As we prepared for 2023, we made some logistical changes that we think will help those in need get their assistance quicker. We now have multiple ways to apply for assistance: in person, email, mail, fax, online, and through our mobile app (available on Google Play and the Apple App Store)! We’ve combined all our programs’ applications into one agency application…so if you need Utilities and Housing assistance we have 1 application that covers both instead of having to fill out multiple applications. This means that those in need will have a more streamlined and hopefully easier path to assistance!
We closed out 2022 with our first-ever Day of Giving/End of Year giving campaign. With donations being matched 1-1 by the Abel-Hanger Foundation in Midland, the over $12000 raised becomes over $24000. These funds will be going towards our work with the homeless in our area. Thank you to all who gave during this time. It is MUCH appreciated!
I hope all this excites you! As the Executive Director, sometimes I have a 30,000-foot overview of what we’re doing and it excites me. Then some days I get to be with our team working with those in need. Seeing the faces, hearing the stories, drying the tears, giving assistance, helping people, changing lives…that’s what we do. It is exciting work and our team is getting it done!
For everyone born,
For the past several years, CVCAA has served our community from the Historic Cactus Hotel where we have been able to provide essential services and help our neighbors become more self-sufficient. While we have enjoyed our extended stay at the Cactus, our expanded services over the last few years means we have outgrown our home there. This past summer we began the search for a new location and are happy to announce that we now have a new home base!
CVCAA is now located at 133 W. Concho Ave, Suite 301, right next door to the downtown YMCA. Our new space provides plenty of room for offices, a dedicated area for our neighbors to access computers and the internet, AND lots of windows! Our staff is loving our new location and we’re sure that our neighbors will enjoy our bright and welcoming new lobby.
Even though we have a new space, we are still dedicated to serving the Concho Valley and providing resources for our neighbors who need our help. With the new year, now is the time to reapply for services. Clients can find out application on our website at www.cvcaa.org/forms. Applications can be uploaded or emailed to us at [email protected]. They can be dropped off at our new offices starting January 11th.
If you have any questions about our application or new location, give us a call at 325.653.2411
This year, CVCAA asked the Concho Valley to be a part of the solution by donating during the National Day of Giving on November 29th. Every year, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is designated as Giving Tuesday and is an opportunity for our neighbors to show their gratitude for the good things they have in the lives but helping out those that don’t have as much to be grateful for.
CVCAA is thankful for every donation made, which stays right here in our community to help our neighbors who are struggling or have fallen on hard times.
We are also grateful for Abell-Hanger foundation who, through a generous grant, is matching every dollar donated to the agency.
If you would still like to contribute, you aren’t out of time yet. You can make a donation online at https://bit.ly/ConchoValleyGives or just scan the QR code at the bottom of this page. Donations can also be mailed to our office at PO Box 671 San Angelo, TX 76902.
Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated. You are truly making
a difference in your community!