2015 Ministry Report: Beyond GUM

Volunteers from The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro tutoring children at Partnership Village

Servant Leadership School’s Ruth Anderson tutoring a child at Partnership Village

While financial assistance is an important factor in ending homelessness, we believe at Greensboro Urban Ministry that it is equally important to provide men, women and families the skills and resources needed to maintain housing and reduce the chance of returning to homelessness.

The Beyond GUM program provides client-centered case management for our guests in Weaver House, winter Weaver Extension (WE) Shelters, and Pathways Center for families. In 2015, Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Board voted to increase our capacity for every shelter guest to have access to these important services.

“Social work is a calling not just vocationally but spiritually. We are called to meet people exactly where they are. … My favorite part is climbing in the trenches with [them] and empowering them with what they need to get out, and being there with them as they reach stability.”

– Rikki Cruz, MSW, Beyond GUM case manager

Case managers begin working with men and women in the shelter to help them develop their own plan to end their homelessness, and continue to meet with them after they return to housing. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so meeting clients where they are is an essential part of our strategy. The goal is to remove the barriers facing each of our clients and help them find the way back home.

The approach is holistic and individual. Services include:

  • Locating affordable housing and advocating with landlords for those who have barriers to housing such as prior evictions, underemployment or arrest histories
  • Improving job skills, connecting with training and identifying employment opportunities and increasing income
  • Learning to budget effectively and realistically
  • Developing healthy lifestyle and risk reduction skills
  • Working to build healthy landlord/tenant relationships
  • Connecting with medical or mental health services

Some residents move to Partnership Village, a permanent housing community with supportive services to help the newly rehoused continue to work on the plans that have brought them back to stability. In addition, through the work of committed longtime volunteers, Partnership Village offers tutoring, support and enrichment for the children and teen residents.

In 2015, Partnership Village began a program called FutureBound to help students prepare for high school graduation, college or technical school. The long-term goal is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through greater access to education and opportunity.