For many Saratoga County residents, turning to a trusted faith-based organization (“FBO” = church, synagogue, mosque, temple etc.) is a natural inclination when they find themselves struggling to make rent, pay for car repairs, put food on the table, or keep their lights on. After all, it is these organizations, and their parishioners who provide invaluable guidance and support during times of hardship. Unfortunately, the capacity of any one FBO to provide monetary assistance is limited, and their knowledge of applicable government funded resources may be insufficient to support long-lasting change.
A formal partnership of non-profits and faith-based organizations in Saratoga County leverages traditional modes of support by FBOs by facilitating a “crowd-sourced funding” type approach to meeting community-member’s immediate needs AND connects them with established services and financial assistance needed to reach and maintain self-sufficiency. Operating under the acronym FEASST (Family Emergency Assistance of Southern Saratoga County), the partnership was founded by CAPTAIN Community Human Services and several Clifton Park area FBOs. With the help of seed funding from our local Habitat for Humanity, the FEASST program now encompasses the northern area of Saratoga County, including the City of Saratoga Springs.
WHO DOES FEASST HELP?
Meet Rachel: Rachel is a single mom who works at your local gas station. Her son Steve is in 3rd grade. One of Steve’s classmates contracted COVID, necessitating him to quarantine for two weeks. Rachel needed to stay home with Steven, and thus was unable to work for two whole weeks. Although Rachel typically works 40+ hours per week, she lives paycheck to paycheck. She uses about 40% of her income towards rent and is nervous about missing her next payment. Rachel reached out to her church seeking advice and help with making rent.
What used to happen? Rachel’s church would provide her as much financial assistance as they could, though not quite enough to fully cover her lapse in rent. Spiritual support and group prayer for an improved situation would be facilitated, as well as some “light-touch” budgeting guidance.
Why FEASST is a great solution: Rachel’s church connects her with CAPTAIN CHS. CAPTAIN CHS screens Rachel and realizes she only needs a short term solution to make this month’s rent. CAPTAIN CHS then reaches out to the local FBOs and nonprofits seeking $400 to cover ½ of her rent. Two churches give $100 each and one agency gives $200. Rachel’s church provides her with integral spiritual and community support during this difficult time. Alone, Rachel’s church would have struggled to meet her needs, but FEASST solves the problem!
Meet Mike: Mike is the bartender at your favorite restaurant. Sadly, he lost his job due to the COVID pandemic. Mike had $3,000 saved in his “rainy day” fund. Mike’s back at work but his income, which is predominantly from tips, is down over 50%. Even with supplemental unemployment and his stimulus check, his rainy day fund is nearly depleted and he is concerned about making rent. Mike reached out to his synagogue seeking advice and help with making rent.
What used to happen? Mike’s synagogue would provide him as much financial assistance as they could, though not quite enough to fully cover his gap in rent. Spiritual support and group prayer for an improved situation would be facilitated, as well as some “light-touch” budgeting guidance.
Why FEASST is a great solution:Mike’s synagogue connects him with CAPTAIN CHS. CAPTAIN CHS screens Mike and realizes that due to COVID there is government funding available to help him. Problem solved!
HOW CAN I HELP?
FEASST is a proactive housing solution that is executed by discovering the root cause of the issue and providing a collaborative holistic approach that provides a long term solution. If this type of strategy resonates with you, please consider making a donation to your local Habitat for Humanity at glensfallshabitat.org or CAPTAIN CHS at captaincares.org.