Arlington Street People's Assistance Network, Inc.

Rating: 4.89 stars   19 reviews

Issues: Job Training, Homeless & Housing, Human Services

Location: PO Box 100731 Arlington VA 22210 USA

Mission: A-SPAN is a community-based organization whose mission is to assist every homeless person in Arlington County get off the streets and live a life of dignity. A-SPAN works with and on behalf of homeless people to secure support and services necessary for them to lead self-sufficient and healthy lives. Our strategies include: meeting emergency needs including food and shelter; providing street outreach, case management and employment assistance; advocating for and creating new programs to fill gaps in homeless services; and increasing community awareness and involvement in ending homelessness.

2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

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Rating: 5 stars  

A-SPAN's bagged meal program is a wonderful opportunity for Cherrydale Baptist Church's Vacation Bible School children to serve others in the community. For the past eight years, we sub out a craft session one day so all classes can participate. The preschoolers decorate bags, the kindergarteners make cards, the first graders pack non-perishables and second-sixth graders make the 160 sandwiches. In the evening, a group of teens deliver the meals and help serve at the Oakland mini-park location.

Our VBS draws children from the greater Arlington and Fairfax communities. Before each A-SPAN session we explain to the children that our service is an opportunity to be the hands of Jesus to our less fortunate neighbors. We pray for the people who will receive the meals, encourage the children to offer their best efforts, and demonstrate showing love by packing nutritious meals as well as a few extra items into each bag -- a pack of tissues, some mints, hand wipes, etc. We have the teens then show up with milk and sometimes extra dessert to give them an opportunity to interact with the recipients.

Personally, I have been humbled each time I arrive at the park. When you hear the stories, it is truly an example of "But for the grace of God, go I." I have been impressed with how A-SPAN takes care of these needy, providing opportunities for showers, supplying hygiene items, and maintaining decorum with the orderly lineups and "ladies-first" policy. My favorite memory is the time we arrived with our white lunch bags full of crayon scribbles and stickers and I heard an exclamation of "It's the Cherrydale bags!" I joyfully reported to our students the next day that their work on behalf of the Lord had made an indelible memory on others.

Thank you for allowing us to partner with you,

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Rating: 5 stars  

"I care about A-SPAN! Thanks for sharing your love with each person on the streets of Arlington. As an A-SPAN volunteer, you have all shown me new ways to care. Thank you, for it has helped me feel more at home in my life. Love you guys! Happy Valentines Day! " (my 2014 Valentine message to A-SPAN)

Since April 2013 I've been helping A-SPAN fill apartments -- for their formerly homeless clients -- with donated furniture and furnishings that I've received through my church and neighborhood. A-SPAN staff has been amazing to work with! I've learned much from their "housing first" philosophy, from their commitment to furnishing the apartments, and from seeing the respect they show each person.

I enjoy working side by side with A-SPAN staff on move-in days, moving the furniture, setting up the apartments, surprising the clients with the furnishings, and sharing A-SPAN's excitement over yet another client housed. I feel appreciated by A-SPAN staff, and have grown much richer as a person because of this opportunity to help A-SPAN in their quest to end homelessness in Arlington.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

For many years, I saw A-SPAN deliver brown bag supper to the street people gathered across the street from my church. The street people in the park could count on A-SPAN's presence every day, every month of the year, whatever the weather...in the blistering heat, bitter cold, rain, sleet, or snow. A-SPAN always goes one step further, approaching my church to establish a partnership that provides its clients a space where they can eat their meal with dignity, sheltered from the elements.

And A-SPAN went one step further again, providing their clients gathered for the evening meal, access to caseworkers, clothing, medical care, a shower and a place to do their laundry. And A-SPAN goes one step further still, working to place their clients in their own apartment. The power of having a place to call your own, was particularly brought home to me this spring when A-SPAN found an apartment for a member of our parish, who lived on the streets for many years, a place where he could live with dignity in the months before his death.

A-SPAN is a lifeline for so many who have none.

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Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Rating: 5 stars  

I became a Board member after years of volunteering for A-SPAN. With my dual insight into the needs and difficulties those facing life without a home encounter, I understand the importance of A-SPAN's many approaches to service. A-SPAN employees and volunteers are trusted by all constituencies as a group of people who respect their clients, support the community at large, and work with the county government to resolve the issue of those who are without a home. A-SPAN is very effectively led by a dedicated director and staff. Those who receive A-SPAN's help are always grateful and often empowered to move back into a home on which to build a recovery. Whether serving warm soup on a cold day or counseling a client about how to resolve medical issues or moving someone into a real home, the A-SPAN community is an asset to our county. The personal touch that A-SPAN always provides is its ultimate strength.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching the trusting faces of the homeless as they approach the A-SPAN workers and volunteers. Those without a home somehow feel very comfortable with A-SPAN workers.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

guarantee greater predictable funding so that A-SPAN did not need to spend so much time fundraising.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

How did you learn about this organization?

My neighbor started it 20 years ago

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Establishing a comprehensive homeless services center year round.

What is its top priority in the long run?

Housing every Arlingtonian appropriately.

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

A-SPAN began to emerge as a force for kind and dependable service to the homeless in our county many years ago. It started with a simple question,"What do people without ANYTHING need most?" and proceeded to answer systematically. While food and shelter come to mind, the first order of business for ASPAN has always been dignity and dependability--products delivered simultaneously with warm soup and showers and good counsel. ASPAN solves individual problems, case by case, while keeping an eye on the larger social issues with heartfelt advocacy and energetic fund raising. I am continually impressed with ASPAN's sincere activity in behalf of an almost invisible, even more silent, but frighteningly increasing community.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the shy smiles of the very hungry, very lonely, sometimes embarrassed, sometimes cheerful, mostly polite, frequently grateful consumers of each evening meal that is served on the street.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

my recent insider information as a Board member about how earnest and dedicated the staff is to ASPAN clients. Infusions of highly innovative staff to work with seasoned professionals have brought vitality and visibility to the community at large.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

enthusiastic and committed to being a presence in the lives of people who are frequently invisible and seemingly inconsequential. Volunteers are passionately loyal, scrambling for opportunities to work, in blizzards and in thunderstorms.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

initially establish a Year Round Shelter to meet a perpetually obvious need and then build/create more possibilities for people who live "outside" to come in.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

Rating: 5 stars  

I have had the pleasure of working with A-SPAN over the past few months through a variety of different opportunities - including helping organize donations, painting the EWS, and engaging friends and neighbors to volunteer at the EWS during the evenings. The experiences I've had with this group are extremely rewarding and each time I find the staff to be welcoming, professional and organized, in regards to ensuring that their volunteers time is valued and used effectively.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen this organization provide shelter, food, and overall bring a smile to people that are actively seeking assistance as a member of our community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Enable them to have additional full time support to pursue new and promising opportunities/partnerships that serve vital to A-SPAN's growth and their ability to even further impact our community for the better.

Rating: 5 stars  

I have had the pleasure of working with A-SPAN for several years now. The experience has been very rewarding. I find the staff to be universally caring and professional. They are knowledgeable and follow through on commitments made to either my organization or to their clients.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen this organization provide housing, contacts for employment and improve the quality of life for a number of people who otherwise would not be receiving available services.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The biggest need is assistance in obtaining resources.

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been on the A-SPAN Board for 2 years and have been impressed with the continual improvement of all of A-SPAN's programs. A-SPAN has separated the sleeping area for the women at the Shelter to the first floor which has tripled the number of women they are serving because the women feel safe. A-SPAN provides Nurse Practicioners who are onsite at the Shelter to meet with clients 3 nights a week. A-SPAN has increased the number of clients in our Permanent Supportive Housing program from 15 to 21 over the last year. A-SPAN is very focused on providing the best services possible and they do it.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The Emergency Winter Shelter

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Add more staff

Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

As a long-time ASPAN Board member, I have seen firsthand how ASPAN has become one of Arlington County's most vital human services organizations. Through the tireless commitment, passion, and dedication of its incredible staff, ASPAN continues to evolve and is literally the life-line for countless homeless individuals in Arlington County. The number of people losing their homes and struggling to sustain their livelihoods continues to rise at an alarming rate; yet, ASPAN has remained a constant resource for anyone in need. With its no-barrier approach to services, ASPAN has built strong relationships with its clients built on trust and respect and, in turn, has helped numerous clients secure permanent housing. The amazing ASPAN staff continues to inspire me and I am extremely grateful for all that they do.

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

significantly expand its permanent housing services and further develop its employment services program. With a more comprehensive strategy that combines housing & employment services together with ongoing support services, we can eliminate homelessness.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

I have been a volunteer with A-SPAN for over 15 years. I worked on the Homeless Bagged Meals delivering meals to Arlington street homeless. I also serve on the Board of Directors and on various Board Committees

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

witnessing their successes. A-SPAN, through caring and persitent outreach and constant support, has been able to help chronically homeless people get into and STAY in supportive housing. No one does it better!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

supporting the organization as it evolves to meet the changing needs and work with best practices. i.e. working in the current financial climate to keep people from becoming homeless when they have a financial crises.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The staff is the most caring, supportive and "go the extra mile group" I have ever seen. They literally do whatever it takes to help a homeless client. Hundreds of volunteers provide bagged meals at two locations 365 days of the year-including blizzards

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Move so many more people into housing and reach even more people before they become homeless. We could get a year-round shelter where services could be provided - a fabulous one stop shop!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

My experience here at A-Span has been excellent. My jobcoach found this position for me. I had been wanting to get some office experience since I have a degree in Support Systems Technology. I had just needed some experience working in an office, and I finally am getting the experience I always wanted. Thanks to A-Span and the A-Span staff I love the experience I am getting here. I am here as a volunteer and I work as an Office Assistant to Ms. Vanessa Witt. As her office assistant I do the following; Filing of time sheets, remisbursements, I also match the American Express bill with Receipts. I have been here since October and Ms. Vanessa Witt loves my work and I love being here.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I have enjoyed working as an Office Assistant for Ms. Witt and the A-Span staff. I love being here I am learning a lot, from the staff and my boss. I also enjoy being part of a group and staff. It makes me feel like part of the family.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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