The member spotlight was created to give members an opportunity to showcase themselves to their fellow Chamber members and to the community. The business that wins the member spotlight will be featured for one month on our Weekly eVents emails, the Chamber’s website, and in our new, quarterly newsletter Crossroads.
Home of the Sparrow
Chelsea Buckley,Health & Social Services Program Coordinator,Home of the Sparrow
What is your position with Home of the Sparrow and how long have your worked for Home of the Sparrow?
I am the Health and Social Services Program Coordinator at Home of the Sparrow. I work with the women who are participating in our Supportive Housing Program as well as coordinate a community initiative called the Chester County ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Coalition which strives to increase our county’s awareness and knowledge of Adverse Childhood Experiences, trauma, and toxic stress and to build resiliency by fostering hope in order to offset the cycle of trauma.
In a nutshell, what does Home of the Sparrow provide its customers? How would you describe Home of the Sparrow to a potential client?
Home of the Sparrow is a local nonprofit that provides housing solutions and supportive services to women and children who are facing or experiencing homelessness. Our goal is to address the critical barriers to long-term self-sufficiency and create transformational change in the lives of the women and children we serve. We know that housing instability and poverty are interdependent and that stable housing can hardly be achieved while living in poverty. Therefore, we employ a holistic strategy based on supportive housing services, educational opportunities and counseling, as well as physical and mental health support to create lasting, generational impact in our community.
Our priority is to stabilize families by keeping them in their homes or by helping them with housing that leads to permanent homes. Housing, a home that is safe and secure is a basic human right. Without it, all other core needs and qualities of a prosperous life are compromised—food, employment, physical and mental health, education, dignity and so much more.
Tell us about Home of the Sparrow history and any unique facts. What makes Home of the Sparrow stand out from others?
For more than 24 years, Home of the Sparrow has served as a regional leader in the provision of unique and successful housing programs, supportive services and access to education and vocational training for women, children and senior women throughout Chester County and surrounding communities. We received non-profit status in 1994 and moved our first families into a rented home in Paoli. In 1996, we purchased a building and, with the help of 400 volunteers, renovated it to become our first Bridge Housing facility. In 2016, we re-purposed this facility and opened our second Bridge Housing Facility to serve the specific needs of pre-senior women ages 55 to 62 who are not yet eligible for government subsidized benefits or housing. Since 2007, through community collaboration and successful fundraising, we have experienced significant program growth and constantly increasing client volumes.
We are also the only agency in Chester County who supports women coming out of the justice system with supportive housing services. The Women’s Reentry and Assessment Program (WRAP) is a partnership with the Chester County Adult Probation, Parole, and Pre-trial Services Office and was a finalist in the Harvard Innovation in Government Award.
Home of the Sparrow truly cares about all women and children in our community. Trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) often play a big role in housing insecurity, homelessness and poverty. We have been spearheading the formation of a county-wide coalition of health and human service providers to better address adverse effects of trauma in our community. We are proud to be the backbone organization of the Chester County ACEs Coalition (CCAC). The Chester County ACEs Coalition’s mission is to increase our county’s awareness and knowledge of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and to build resiliency and foster hope in order to offset the cycle of trauma.
What do you do to serve your clients best?
When participants enter the program, our Program Coordinators conduct thorough assessments of their needs and history, including physical and emotional health, history of abuse, education records and the need for necessities or school supplies. These assessments inform the stability plans for our participants and define the wrap-around services they need to regain economic and social stability. Based on their personal stability plans, women are provided with intensive coordinated services to:
* Build independent living skills, such as financial literacy
* Maintain current housing or finding more suitable housing to fit capacity and needs
* Better navigate systems to access critical benefits and resources—both community-based and government based
* Address mental and physical health issues—providing counseling, as well as increased access to providers who can address acute and chronic health issues
* Identify ways to increase their income and enhance their opportunities for jobs that pay living wages
In addition to providing housing solutions and critical support, we place strong emphasis on moving the lives of women and children forward in all aspects–school, behavior, health and social wellbeing. In addition to conducting a comprehensive health assessment for each participant, our staff follows the national models for trauma- informed care to assess the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) score of both women and children in order to identify and then address these issues through key interventions.
What are your proudest accomplishments?
In 2016, we were awarded non-profit of the year by the Main Line Chamber of Commerce and we recently received the 2018 County Criminal Justice System Partners Award for the Women’s Reentry and Assessment Program by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.
Why is Home of the sparrow a member of the Exton Region Chamber of Commerce?
As a local non-profit, we rely on the business community around us to provide our services to and to help women and children who are facing or experiencing homelessness. The Exton Region Chamber of Commerce has been a great resource to make new connections and to strengthen existing partnerships.