SHELTER, Inc. of Contra Costa County

Rating: 5 stars   4 reviews

Issues:

Location: 1815 Arnold Drive Martinez CA 94553 USA

Mission: Our mission is to prevent and end homelessness among low-income residents of Contra Costa County by providing resources that lead to self-sufficiency.
Results: Last year SHELTER, Inc. served over 6,000 people; 3,000 of those served were children. 89% of the families who received prevention assistance were able to stay housed, and 80% of the homeless families helped successfully moved into permanent housing. The following is a story about a family helped through SHELTER, Inc.'s Homeless Prevention Program: A single mother with three children was renting an apartment when the children were in a car accident. Her 13-year-old son was left with extensive physical injuries, and the mother took off time from work to care for him. The family fell behind on rent, and soon needed help to prevent them from losing their home. SHELTER, Inc. helped prevent the family from becoming homeless by providing rental assistance. The mother recently wrote to SHELTER, Inc., "I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. It was very embarrassing for me to ask for help. I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me, I just needed help to prevent my kids and I from becoming homeless. Thank you a thousand times, on behalf of each of my children and myself. Thank you so very, very much."
Target demographics: Low-income and homeless men, women and children in Contra Costa County.
Geographic areas served: Contra Costa County
Programs: SHELTER, Inc.'s three main program areas: 1) Preventing Homelessness: SHELTER, Inc.'s Homeless Prevention Program helps prevent homelessness for families and individuals on the verge of losing their housing, as well as helps end homelessness for those struggling to regain housing. Last year, 89% of those helped by SHELTER, Inc. were able to stay off the streets and in their homes. 2) Ending the Cycle of Homelessness: SHELTER, Inc. takes homeless families and individuals off the streets, places them in safe, temporary homes and provides services to help them regain self-sufficiency. Services that are critical to success include counseling, tutoring, budgeting and employment services. Last year, 80% of those helped moved to stable, permanent housing. 3) Providing Affordable Housing: Affordable housing means having a safe place to live at a price you can afford. SHELTER, Inc. manages over 225 affordable housing units throughout Contra Costa County, renting to low-income, vulnerable residents, many of whom have otherwise been unable to find housing.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I started my journey with Shelter Inc., as a volunteer about 5 years ago. I was looking for an opportunity to help kids at my church connect with the community in a meaningful and practical way. After a couple of years volunteering, I was so impressed with the organization that I decided to join the fundraising team "Hike for Shelter" to raise awareness and funds. In 2011, I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors - I continue to be amazed at the level of commitment from the staff and all the fantastic work this organization is doing in Contra Costa County. It's a hidden gem!!

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

Likely

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

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Rating: 5 stars  

Do yourself a favor--visit Shelter, Inc. All of my volunteer time has been a valuable learning experience and I have never failed to come away feeling as though I was receiving a gift--not giving one. The brilliant staff and fellow vounteers make volunteering fun and incredibly rewarding. There's a huge variety of things you can do as a volunteer and no better way that I can think of to help the community.

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?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a fairly new volunteer at Shelter, Inc. and was immediately made to feel that I am making a valuable contribution to the mission, no matter what job I do. Every staff person at Shelter, Inc. is so appreciative of every volunteer's efforts in a way I have not before experienced. If you are searching for a way to give to our community in a meaningful way, whether as an individual, a group, a family, Shelter, Inc. is a deserving organization and you will know you have made an important difference in the lives of families in need.

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?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been volunteering with Shelter, Inc for almost 10 years now. It started when my co-workers decided to adopt a family in need for Christmas in lieu of our usual gift exchange. One of our company supervisors knew an employee of Shelter, Inc and we "adopted" our first family. A couple years later, when the supervisor left the company, I took over as the "adoption" co-ordinator for our office. I soon found out about some of the other volunteer opportunities at the holidays, such as putting together Thanksgiving food boxes for the families and assisting with the drop off of the Christmas presents for the adopted clients. The excitement of the other volunteers and donors along with the dedication of the staff got me hooked. I now volunteer 3 days a week after work at the main offices and throughout the year at various fundraisers. I am also a donor to the organization as I've seen the care with which they manage their funds. I do wish they could get more exposure in the media, particularly on television and radio. With the economic reality that most people are only a few paychecks away from homelessness, my hope is that Shelter, Inc will become a household name in the area.

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

I have only had direct contact with clients on a couple of occasions at the emergency shelter and the Lyle Morris center and I've spoken to a couple of "graduates" of the program. All seemed very grateful for the assistance they received and were determined to continue on a positive path. They gave strong endorsements of the programs and positive reviews of the staff.

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

I would like to see them do more outreach to the business community to try to build awareness of their mission and their needs. Much of their communications go to existing individual donors and I believe there needs to be as much focus on bringing in donations from larger entities.

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