Tioga County Homeless Initiative (TCHI) – Program Summary
TCHI is a group of individuals concerned about the growing homeless population within our communities. TCHI’s mission is to ‘establish a faith-based network of churches and organizations within Tioga County which will provide a warm, safe, and caring environment for individuals and families who are homeless.’ Our goal is to establish a centrally located Tioga County Homeless Shelter which will be able to address the needs of the homeless within Tioga County on a permanent basis.
This shelter will be supported by a faith-based network consisting of churches and organizations within Tioga County. For each week of operations at the shelter, a designated group of support churches and organizations will staff the shelter which will provide a warm/safe place to sleep, adequate bedding, adult supervision, two meals, access to a washer/dryer, and a shower facility.
The scheduled week begins Sunday afternoon (~5:00pm). New guest intake will take place between 5:00pm and 10:00pm. An evening meal will be served (~6:00pm) and lights will be out later that evening (~10:00pm). Breakfast will be served (~6:00am), the facility cleaned up, and all guests will depart from the shelter (~7:00am) for the day. School aged children will be transported to the school in which they are enrolled in and adults and non-school aged children will be transported to a local community for the day (weekdays [via public transportation, weekends via the TCHI van and/or volunteer vehicles]). During the day hours, the adults should be looking for work, looking for affordable housing, shopping, taking care of their children, etc…At the end of the day, everyone will be transported back to the shelter (weekdays [via public transportation, weekends via the TCHI van and/or volunteer vehicles]).
For school aged children, legislation requires school districts to provide for the education of homeless youth, therefore it is assumed that transportation to and from the schools will be provided by the school districts. Ultimately it will be the parents’ responsibility to notify the school districts of the situation and to ensure their children can attend school. The TCHI will help in any way possible but ultimately it will be the parents’ responsibility.
This initiative is quite an undertaking, especially since all positions and support will be on a volunteer, non-paid basis. There will need to be an incredible amount of coordination and cooperation between all groups within the TCHI Organizational Structure to make this a successful ministry.