Category Archives: Association

Housing First

An article in The New Yorker looks at a more effective approach to dealing with chronic homelessness:

In 2005, Utah set out to fix a problem that’s often thought of as unfixable: chronic homelessness. The state had almost two thousand chronically homeless people. Most of them had mental-health or substance-abuse issues, or both. At the time, the standard approach was to try to make homeless people “housing ready”: first, you got people into shelters or halfway houses and put them into treatment; only when they made progress could they get a chance at permanent housing. Utah, though, embraced a different strategy, called Housing First: it started by just giving the homeless homes…

…Housing First has saved the government money. Homeless people are not cheap to take care of. The cost of shelters, emergency-room visits, ambulances, police, and so on quickly piles up. Lloyd Pendleton, the director of Utah’s Homeless Task Force, told me of one individual whose care one year cost nearly a million dollars, and said that, with the traditional approach, the average chronically homeless person used to cost Salt Lake City more than twenty thousand dollars a year. Putting someone into permanent housing costs the state just eight thousand dollars, and that’s after you include the cost of the case managers who work with the formerly homeless to help them adjust. The same is true elsewhere. A Colorado study found that the average homeless person cost the state forty-three thousand dollars a year, while housing that person would cost just seventeen thousand dollars.

Here in the Triad the Greensboro-based Partners Ending Homelessness started a Housing First initiative in February, 2014:

Partners Ending Homelessness, a partner agency of United Way of Greater Greensboro, says the “Housing First” initiative it launched in February is providing access to stable housing to 28 formerly homeless households.

The initiative by the agency, a collaborative effort that includes 80 community partners, was funded in 2013 with a $1 million grant from the Phillips Foundation to address the needs of the chronically homeless.

The agency says it needs to secure roughly $2.5 million over the next four years from public and private sources to expand the program.

The effort in Greensboro is already paying dividends:

The early results reflect the experiences of the first five participants in the year before joining the program and in the six months after joining program.

In addition to paying for a consultant who has worked with other communities, the money has been used to develop an Assertive Community Treatment Team for long-term housing support and case management, the highest level of mental health service available short of hospitalization.

“Although $1 million seems like we are spending a lot of money, the statistics are showing we are saving a lot of money,” said the Rev. Mike Aiken of Greensboro Urban Ministry, one of the partners in Ending Homelessness.

“People are being housed and supported. We were absolutely sold on it.”

The number of emergency room visits also dropped, from eight to none. The cost of housing these people dropped from $30,650 in shelters to $8,927 in rent for their new homes. And the number of nights spent in jail dropped from 28 to none.

A Fun (and Inexpensive!) Member Recognition Idea

At PTAA our membership director and Ambassador Committee came up with a really fun member recognition program:

  • They ordered blank Chinese take-out boxes
  • They ordered fortune cookies with fun messages including:
    • We can see your
      future with PTAA!
    • For a good time call 336.294.4428!
    • LIKE us on Facebook!
    • Happy Anniversary from PTAA!
    • Legislation and Education. We do it all!
    • Your lucky number is 
  • They put eight cookies in each box and sealed the box with a sticker printed with our logo.
  • Then the ambassadors split up our member list and each agreed to visit six of them to hand deliver each a box and window cling with our logo printed on it.

It's a really creative and inexpensive way to acknowledge our members, and of course you could use it as a customer recognition tool in non-membership businesses.

How Not to Run an Awards Ceremony

Anyone who's spent time working in a trade association is probably familiar with that uneasy feeling that occurs when one of the organization's most prominent members gets upset and starts throwing its weight around. That feeling comes from the knowledge that if you find the member to be in the wrong and you have to stand up to its representatives, then you risk losing them as a member, and their hefty percentage of the budget as well. On the other hand if you cave in to their demands you lose credibility with the rest of the members, and in all likelihood you'll lose plenty of them as members as a result. All told it's a very uncomfortable situation, but ten out of ten times it's better to stand up for the principles of the association that were, after all, established by consensus of the membership.

For an example of exactly how NOT to handle a prominent member throwing a hissy fit we need only look to the British Institute of Innkeeping Scotland's handling of a pissy member at its annual awards ceremony. From the post on Boing Boing:

BrewDog is a spunky craft brewer in Scotland. Diageo is a titanic owner of bar chains, a kind of Wal*Mart of booze. The British Institute of Innkeeping is their mutual trade association. Last Sunday, the BII's independent judges awarded BrewDog a prize for Bar Operator of the Year. When Diageo found out — just ahead of the ceremony — that they hadn't won the prize, they threw a tantrum and said that they would cease all sponsorship of BII events unless the prize was given to them. So BrewDog — who'd been told in advance that they'd won — sat at their table at the banquet with jaws on their chests as Diageo's name was read out by the announcer, and representatives from Diageo got up on stage to accept an award whose plaque clearly said "BREWDOG: BAR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR." 

Of course this blew up in the association's face and it did no favors for the "prominent" member either. The folks at Brewdog, the offended party, are running with it on their blog and in the process highlight how the head of an organization such as BII can begin repairing its image after such a mistake:

On Tuesday, 2 days after the award, I (James) took a phone call from Kenny Mitchell, Chairman of the BII in Scotland and Chairman of the Award Committee explaining the situation. To directly quote Kenny:

"We are all ashamed and embarrassed about what happened. The awards have to be an independent process and BrewDog were the clear winner’

‘Diageo (the main sponsor) approached us at the start of the meal and said under no circumstances could the award be given to BrewDog. They said if this happened they would pull their sponsorship from all future BII events and their representatives would not present any of the awards on the evening.’

We were as gobsmacked as you by Diageo’s behaviour. We made the wrong decision under extreme pressure. We should have stuck to our guns and gave the award to BrewDog."

Here's the part where they have some fun:

As for Diageo, once you cut through the glam veneer of pseudo corporate responsibility this incident shows them to be a band of dishonest hammerheads and dumb ass corporate freaks.  No soul and no morals, with the integrity of a rabid dog and the style of a wart hog.

Perhaps more tellingly it is an unwitting microcosm for just how the beer industry is changing and just how scared and jealous the gimp-like establishment are of the craft beerrevolutionaries.

We would advise them to drink some craft beer.  To taste the hops and live the dream. It is hard to be a judas goat when you are drinking a Punk IPA.  

Walk tall, kick ass and learn to speak craft beer.

Those last two paragraphs are sage advice for us all – right up there with "Live long and prosper."


Food Fight Between Winston-Salem and Greensboro

Here's the deal: the organization I work for (Triad Apartment Association) has kicked off its annual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of NW NC.  For the past several years we've hosted an event at a Greensboro Grasshoppers baseball game and invited the public to bring cans of food to contribute to Second Harvest.  This year we've stepped it up and are hosting an event at the Winston-Salem Dash game on July 12 and the Greensboro Grasshoppers game on July 14 and we're holding a contest to see which game will raise more food/money for Second Harvest.

As part of our efforts WXII has agreed to partner with us and both Mayor Joines (W-S) and Mayor Knight (GSO) have filmed public service messages that will run on WXII as part of our efforts.  Obviously we're most thankful to the mayors, the Dash, the Grasshopper and WXII for working with us on this effort.

If you'd like to participate you can do so in several ways:

  • Attend one of the games and bring food or financial donations ($1 = 12 cans of food)
  • Drop off cans of food at one of our participating apartment communities (see the map below, or the list on the TAA website).
  • If you'd like to mail in a donation you can send it to TAA at 3407 West Wendover Ave., Suite E, Greensboro NC 27407. Checks should be made out to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC
  • An added bonus: if you want to donate a couple of bucks just write "Shave Jon's Head" in the memo field of any check, or on a cover note with the donation, and if we get $1,000 with that note then I'll have my head shaved.

I hope to see you all at one of the ballgames!

Winston-Salem/Kernersville Drop Off Locations

View 2010 TAA Food Drive W-S Drop Off Locations in a larger map

Greensboro/High Point Drop Off Locations

Nice Article on Labor of Love

Kim Underwood wrote a nice article for the Winston-Salem Journal about TAA's Labor of Love project at The Children's Home.  As I wrote before, this is one of the most amazing projects I've ever been involved with and I think the article really helps explain why:

The cottage is needed because last Sept. 1, the Children's Home took over the operation of Opportunity House, a nine-bed emergency shelter for young people on Brookstown Avenue. The shelter had been run by the Youth Opportunities organization.

"The intention from Day One was to move that facility on campus," said George Bryan, the president and chief executive of the Children's Home…

When the Children Home agreed to take over the shelter, Bryan estimated that it could take $150,000 to renovate the 10,000-square-foot Stultz Cottage. With no money available, immediate action wasn't possible.

Along came Marc Crouse, a member of the apartment association who volunteers at the home and is in the process of adopting a young person who has been living there. When he approached Bryan about the association doing something at the home for this year's "Labor of Love" project, Bryan thought that fixing up the cottage for the program would be just the thing.

"From the first, we are considering this a miracle," Bryan said.

All Lives Have Equal Value

You can read Bill Gates' 2010 Annual Letter for the Bil & Melinda Gates Foundation here.  It's broken into 12 sections which you will find below.  Personally I really like the line at the top of every page: "All Lives Have Equal Value"

Helping The Children’s Home

This actually has to do with my day job.  The Triad Apartment Association (TAA) is gearing up for it's annual Labor of Love and this year we'll be working with The Children's Home to fix up a building that's been vacant for over 25 years so that it can be used as transitional housing for kids who turn 18. 

As things currently stand when a child turns 18 they are pretty much on their own.  I don't know about you, but if I'd been left to my own devices at 18 I would have been in a world of hurt.  The Children's Home envisions taking this refurbished building and using it as a place to temporarily house the 18 year-olds while they learn how to make their way in the world.

The TAA is going to take several teams of volunteers to clean up, paint, fix the landscaping and make repairs to the building over two weekends in February.  We're in the process of organizing our teams and gathering supplies for the project.  To give you an idea of the scope of this project we anticipate using a minimum of 200 gallons of paint and having dozens of volunteers on site at any given time. 

One of the most exciting aspects of this project is that we keep getting donations and volunteers by word of mouth even though we haven't really been pushing it to this point.  I can't tell you how many calls we've gotten from "friends of friends" who want to know how they can get involved.  What I've been telling them is that we will happily take donations of supplies, or money (financial donations go directly to The Children's Home for the project), to help with the project.  If we get a duplication of donations, say for kitchen appliances, then we've been assured that The Children's Home can find a use for them.  If you have any interest in helping out please feel free to contact our office at (336) 294-4428 or visit our web page about the project here

I wasn't yet at TAA when we did the 2009 Labor of Love so I'm REALLY stoked about this year's project.