Thank you to staff writers Karen Mansfield and Jon Stevens for their excellent coverage of homelessness in Washington County. They treated the individuals and families featured in the stories with the compassion and dignity they deserve. Informing the Observer-Reporter’s readers about the causes and consequences of homelessness and putting names and faces on those needing assistance with housing will help to educate the public that many homeless people in Washington County are the working poor and most are families with children who find themselves in a temporary untenable situation.
I was proud to see that many of the programs and services featured in the series are supported with United Way Community Impact Grants, thanks to the generosity of the many businesses and individuals who contribute to United Way of Washington County’s annual campaign. The men’s program at the City Mission in Washington, the Avis Arbor shelter for women and children, Samaritan Services and the Arbuckle Medical Clinic are all currently receiving United Way funding. Try Again Homes, the Lemoyne Center, Safe Haven and the Family Shelter are also funded with United Way contributions.
Before these programs were approved for funding, United Way volunteers confirmed the need for the service, made site visits, reviewed the agencies’ finances and interviewed the agency staff regarding expected outcomes for the community. Each of these charities is to be commended for the effectiveness, compassion and the efficiency of the services they provide to our community. They provide far more than food and shelter to the homeless. Counseling, career training, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, legal advice, parenting skills, tutoring and medical care are also made available to ensure that homelessness is a temporary problem with a permanent solution.
As United Way undertakes our 78th annual campaign in Washington County this fall, we are proud of our association with these important agencies and the important services they provide for our less fortunate neighbors.
Cowieson is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Washington County.