The Future Starts Now
On April 1, 2022, what we’ve been calling our Second Century Vision officially became what we do. We are uniting people and partners to ensure our neighbors struggling to make ends meet land on their feet and stay there. We've been dreaming about it and planning for it - alongside so many visionary volunteers, donors, and partners - and we are thrilled to see it come to life.
With a strong network of partners, and you by our side, we step forward confident in our client-focused service delivery model, excited about the work ahead, and ready to serve all those seeking a better life.
A few things you should know:
Services are built around helping people achieve financial stability. Financial stability services are paired with early childhood and youth development, and physical and behavioral health care, all supported by a foundation of basic needs assistance and help escaping violent situations, like domestic violence and human trafficking.
The strategy is driven by data. In our community, 14% of families are surviving on incomes below the Federal Poverty Level, and the ALICE Report indicates that another 33% of individuals in Greater Houston are employed, but struggling to afford the necessities. Real-time data from our 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE helps us keep a pulse on who needs what services, when and where.
We partner with clients to help them map out their journey. Helping people land on their feet—and stay there -- requires a tailored approach and a true partnership. We work with individuals and families to create their own customized plan for programs and services based on their unique goals and needs. Then, rather than working separately to address individual needs, partners coordinate programs to make it easy for clients to engage across services as needed.
Clients work hand-in-hand with Navigators. Navigators play a key role in helping individuals and families determine their goals, building an individualized pathway to achieving those goals, making connections to programs and services, and supporting clients as they move through their journey to stability.
A technology tool ties it together. We are developing a technology platform that will support navigators as they serve clients, make the client experience more seamless, and provide data to identify service gaps and other needs so we can continuously improve.
The approach is regional. Services are offered across 13 priority regions within Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery, and Waller counties, ensuring that the full suite of services needed for success is available in each region. Regions have been determined based on the density of the population living below the ALICE threshold and the density of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), who have been historically disproportionately impacted.
Diversity and equity are at the forefront. We are focused on work that helps make headway against racism and underrepresentation. Our investments in services and agencies are evaluated on how they serve those in need and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and how they incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into policies, practices, and client service delivery.
The investment process was competitive and rigorous. All qualified nonprofits in our area were invited to apply for funding and United Way received more than 400 applications requesting a total of more than $100 million in funding, much more than was available. More than 150 volunteers, plus United Way staff, spent 5,000 hours reviewing applications and making funding recommendations to maximize our reach and impact.
Important work continues. United Way of Greater Houston will continue to provide our community's social services safety net, connect people with help and hope 24/7 via our 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE, play a lead role in recovery from disasters, and lead and convene the nonprofit social services sector to provide services that address the complex challenges holding people back.
We are excited to move this work forward and are grateful for your support and continued partnership in creating opportunities for our neighbors and our community to thrive.