Posted on Sep 24, 2016
 
 
The Rotary Club of North Atlanta (RCNA) has enjoyed a strong relationship with Nicholas House that has lasted more than twenty years. Nicholas House is a shelter that specializes in helping homeless families to achieve self-sufficiency.  It started in the halls of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in 1982; moved to a building behind the church, and then relocated to a much larger facility on Boulevard Avenue in metro Atlanta.
 
Jon Yaeger, a RCNA Past President, served the program when it started in the church.  (Former RCNA) Rotarian Juliet Reising also served as President of the Nicholas House Board; Juliet and her husband Lance, RCNA Treasurer, remain strong advocates and active volunteers for the shelter. 
 
On September 13th RCNA volunteers, under the leadership of Rotarian Lance Reising, participated in a hands on service event when several Rotarians planned, prepared, delivered and served dinner at the shelter house.  In attendance were over 19 children from families that are now participating in the Nicholas House Program. Although this was one of the smallest groups we have served at the shelter, because three families had just been released from the program and moved on in their lives toward self-sufficiency, all together more than 35 individuals were served.  For dinner residents enjoyed baked and fried chicken, pulled pork with BBQ sauce, green beans, potato salad, rolls, cookies, brownies, fruit pops, lemonade, ice tea and milk!  
 
North Atlanta Rotarians ready to serve!
                                          
There was much joy, thankfulness, and fellowship shared between residents and Rotarians.                                                                                               
North Atlanta Rotary is proud to be a long term community partner with Nicholas House serving the greater Atlanta community.  So far this year, North Atlanta Rotary has provided over $1500 in support to Nicholas House.
 
Nicholas House is the only shelter in Atlanta that provides housing to homeless families regardless of family makeup. They provide temporary housing while addressing the root causes of family homelessness so a family may never be homeless again.
 

Nicholas House provides supportive services through their shelter on Boulevard Avenue, through their scattered-site apartment rapid re-housing program Homeless to Homes (H2H), and their newly launched New Horizons program for chronically homeless families. All families have up to two years of follow-up support after leaving direct services.

Nicholas House understands that providing basic subsistence – food and shelter – is necessary but not sufficient to prevent most homeless families from becoming homeless again. Three main goals and three unique factors make Nicholas House an incredibly special place where positive, lasting change happens.  80% of the families served maintain their own housing a year or more after exiting the Nicholas House program.

Multiple Tracks and Custom Solutions
The Nicholas House two-tiered approach to solving homelessness is unique to Atlanta. No matter what level of need or stage of homelessness a family finds themselves in, they have a program to meet the family's unique situation.

The New Horizons program is a housing first model for chronically homeless families with disabilities. These families have the greatest barriers, requiring longer time-frames and more support to become self-sufficient. These families have been homeless for an extended time and face significant challenges such as mental health issues, substance abuse, and physical disability. They place these families immediately into permanent support housing in apartments leased by Nicholas House – straight from street outreach teams or emergency shelters.  Once families are settled in, case managers provide additional services that incorporate best practice approaches based on national research. These include harm reduction and motivational interviewing techniques.

The NHI shelter located off Boulevard Avenue in the Grant Park area provides long-term care and assistance for families with no income. This shelter has room to house 12 homeless families, which includes accommodations for a family of 10.

Their Homeless to Homes (H2H) apartment-based program is available to families with jobs who are past the need for a shelter environment but who still benefit from training, rental subsidy, time and assistance to rebuild their lives. Other shelters and agencies throughout the city rely on the H2H program to place their residents.

The Nicholas House Home Again program provides initial support for homeless families with ENOUGH income to pay ongoing rent but without the larger initial funds required to obtain their own apartment.  Nicholas House provides upfront support with application fees, utility and rental deposits, moving costs, initial months rent and other cost barriers to establishing housing. The family is then able to maintain housing long-term on their own based on their income.

Through an After School Program, the school-age children receive counseling, encouragement, help with homework, and a chance to foster camaraderie and a love of learning that will last a lifetime. NHI Adult Education classes do the same for their parents.

Nicholas House could not function without volunteers and donations. Over 6,000 individuals each year assist with every aspect of maintaining the agency and its programs.

  • Improving facilities and grounds
  • Tutoring and supervising our children
  • Running the front office
  • Presenting educational courses to residents
  • Preparing meals
  • Mentoring individuals
 
For more information about Nicholas House go to:  www.nicholashouse.org/