Published Sunday, February 03, 2013
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
It’s been a pretty big year for One Roof.
The Coweta outreach ministry for the needy formed a “teen board” and has gotten some needed improvements at its building on Temple Avenue in Newnan. But 2012 was the first year that the organization has not met its budget.
About half of that shortfall was because of a grant that wasn’t approved by the end of 2012. That grant arrived in January, but donations were also down in 2012.
Executive Director Derenda Rowe gave a recap of the organization’s operations in 2012 at the One Roof annual meeting, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
One Roof Ecumenical Outreach Alliance is an organization formed by several local churches that helps to provide assistance to needy Cowetans. One Roof rents space to the Coweta Community Food Pantry, which is also directed by Rowe. Outgoing treasurer and incoming President Ann Kerlin gave the financial report.
The organization had budgeted for revenues of $246,800 in 2012; actual revenues were $205,920. Donations were budgeted at $147,000 but only came in at $116,463.
Most of the shortfall had to be made up by reducing the amount of financial assistance given out.
One Roof had originally budgeted $126,000 for financial assistance, but that had to be cut to $95,808.
Hopes are to be able to do about $10,000 worth of assistance a month in 2013, said Kerlin. “Our expenses are close to what we spent in 2012, and our revenues are up by the $20,000 grant we just got. And based on what we had taken in in 2012, it works out to being able to give $107,000 in assistance,” she said. “We will review this in the middle of the year to see how we are doing and see if we can increase it.”
Donations make up 57 percent of One Roof’s income. And the bulk of those are donations from individuals, said Kerlin. One Roof’s Resale Store thrift shop makes up 31 percent.
One Roof “does a really great job selling things at a really great price. Which is a way of helping people also,” said Kerlin.
During the year, One Roof helped 69 families with rent, 101 families with utilities, and paid for 75 motel rooms for families and individuals. “That could have been anywhere from one day to five weeks and maybe six,” said Rowe.
“As we are working with someone, if they can become self sufficient then we kind of try to hang in there with them — before we become financially bankrupt,” Rowe said. “We try, if we can, to take them from being homeless into self-sufficiency. Some families do stay a little bit longer if they look like they are going to pick up the ball and make things happen for themselves,” she said. One Roof also provided 28 miscellaneous needs, which can vary widely.
Rowe said she would like to start having a fund set aside to help people with prescription medicines. “Prescriptions should have priority,” she said. But with so many things going on, “sometimes prescriptions don’t come to the top of the list.”
At Christmas, One Roof set out tables full of gently used toys, and some new toys, and gave them away. “There were really a lot of people there,” Rowe said. “They came and got things, and we continually put things out.”
The Resale Store doesn’t just provide low-cost items for shoppers. One Roof also gives some of the items to its clients, including clothes and housewares. In 2012, 689 people got free items at the store. Most were school children, said Rowe, who get three outfits, shoes, underclothes if available, and coats in winter.
The organization helped 16 families go from being homeless to having their own homes or apartments. “Many of those didn’t have anything, and so we could do a kitchen set-up and a bathroom set-up,” Rowe said. “Maybe we had mattresses.”
There are so many things that people use in their homes, “and we don’t think about that somebody goes home to nothing,” Rowe said. “They’re sitting on the floor.”
They’ve also helped families who have lost items in fires replace furniture and other housewares.
A One Roof volunteer built two concrete ramps at the entrance to the food pantry. “That is going to make a difference, it will allow some remodeling” and allow them to change the “way clients come into the building and are served, and will separate our thrift store from the offices,” Rowe said.
Three Eagle Scouts also did projects, including building shelves and a flower bed out front.
One Roof participated in several outreach events, including a homeless awareness event, “Hands Up Lock Out,” hosted by Resurrection Lutheran Church. Rowe and several teens slept in cardboard boxes, and the teens had to scavenge clothing to stay warm and dig through garbage cans for snacks. They also held a Easter egg hung for pets and people and did a cupcake walk at the Juneteenth event.
And Odyssey School hosted a “touch a truck” fundraiser to raise money for One Roof.
“We do a lot of things to help raise awareness in the county of what One Roof does. We go to different places, try to explain what we are doing,” Rowe said.
That has included setting up at Market Day in downtown Newnan. Teen Board members created art to sell at Market Day.
Rowe said that, at last count, there were 248 Coweta school children who are considered homeless. “That could mean they are sleeping on someone’s couch, in their car, they are in a motel,” Rowe said.
One Roof is called to help in various situations, from helping Adult Protective Services with a need to delivering a car seat after hours to a family who had been in a serious accident and needed a car seat to get to a hospital.
Rowe mentioned a program called Family Promise by the Interfaith Hospitality Network. It’s something they’re looking at starting in Coweta.
“Family Promise is a way of housing people and having them sleep in churches, but have day centers within our community,” she said. “It’s done all over the U.S. We learned about it and we still hope to make it happen. It just takes a lot of people to make things happen,” she said.
Rowe said she is looking for people to work on that project.
She’s also looking for more Teen Board members. And Facebook fans.
“Don’t forget to like us on Facebook,” Rowe said. There are pages for both One Roof and the Coweta Community Food Pantry.
One Roof also needs volunteers, people willing to hold fund-raisers, and donations of clothing and household items.
“If you can just encourage your friends and family and church members and organization members — just encourage them to remember One Roof when they get ready to donate something,” Rowe said to the group at the annual meeting.
For more information on One Roof, visit oneroofoutreach.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org , call 770-683-7705, or just drop by at 320-C Temple Avenue, Newnan. The Resale House is open from 10 a.m. to 4p.m., Monday - Friday.