Advocating for the residents at Unity Village


 
TWO VOLUNTEER OPTIONS:  


1.  One-on-One Advocate:  Our 1:1 advocates provide our residents with a consistent level of support.  We do take into account a volunteers available hours with the residents needs when we pair folks up. 
 
Residents with higher needs may need a volunteer with more time for example. As a one to one advocate you help the resident navigate the system (along with the staff at HomesNOW) to obtain what they need for housing. This could include following up with housing case managers, working on paperwork, help with a budget to save for a deposit, keeping track of a to do list etc.  Most of the time residents have other items to take care of prior to obtaining housing, so you would help with that (job searching, social security or VA paperwork etc.). 
 
This is not a full time job!  Most residents are very grateful for any help, and will work with your schedule to get things done. We have found that residents that have had 1:1 advocates have had a much higher success rate in finding housing.  Having someone you can count on is a huge benefit for our residents!
 


2.  Drop in Advocacy: Don't have a lot of time? Maybe an hour a week? Can you look at a shared Google Doc and work on some "Community To Do's" at home?
 
We understand that people are balancing work, home life and other volunteering and wanted to have an option for folks to still get involved and have the opportunity to make a connection with our residents.  You can take weeks to work on an item, as long as you are updating us and the resident in need!  Some items are looking into resources for the whole camp, while other items are more resident specific.  

 
Support and Training

For either option, you would not be working with a resident on your own!  Melissa Bird is a nurse certified in case management and has been a case manager in Bellingham for the past 6 years.  You are not expected to know how to help our residents, we tackle most problems together with community resources. Sometimes no one knows how to get something done, so we all learn something new!  The idea is to support our residents while they get back into housing, which is not something most have had in the past.  This support makes a difference!


We will be holding another advocacy training soon.  If you are interested please email Melissa at birds5017@gmail.com.