December 5, 2011
In the fall of 2010, I was lucky enough to be hired by the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless as Programs Coordinator. Although my employment at the Coalition was far more brief than I would have liked, I cherished the months I spent there and the people I met. Like most people, before I worked there, I thought that the Homeless Coalition was primarily a shelter for the homeless, when in fact, it is not. While the Coalition does work in conjunction with several other agencies, including local shelters, it's primary function and goal, is to end homelessness. When a person who is homeless becomes a client of the Coalition, they avail themselves to, many programs that have the potential to truly change their lives. The Coalition staff works closely with individuals to provide them with immediate shelter, and for those who qualify, help in finding long-term housing and even permanent housing, all while providing education and support in essential life skills, such as securing employment, learning to budget and navigating the often-confusing path to earned government benefits. The staff at the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless are a rare bunch, always ready with a warm greeting and a cup of the city's best coffee. They truly are the kindest, most compassionate people I have ever worked with, treating each client with respect and dignity. Every employee makes it his/her mission to identify the best, most effective options available to help each client find his/her way to a better life. Clients who ask for, and receive, assistance are required to actively partake in making life changes, in educational opportunities, and to serve their own hours of service to better their living environments or that of those in the community. They are constantly seeking out new programs that may benefit the homless population of the Ohio Valley, or crafting new ways to pay for the continuation of programs that have proven successful in the past. In short, any individual who finds themselves down on their luck and chooses to step inside the doors of the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless, has already taken the first step to a better life.
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MY ROLE:General Member of the Public