A new Dodge County charity is helping people stay in their homes or transition back into a home from a homeless situation.
Now, about six weeks after officially receiving its non-profit status, Uniquely Yours Stability Support is holding its first large scale fundraiser. The charity has been in existence for almost one year.
Uniquely Yours was begun to help people with unique situations causing their homelessness or preventing them from transitioning out of homelessness to achieve or maintain a home. The program is there when situations fall through the cracks of other agencies’ guidelines, said Robin Pfingston, president and volunteer staff of one for the charity. There is a 13-member board of directors and a donated office is operated Tuesday afternoons at the Care Corps homeless shelter.
“Our main mission is to fill the gap in funding from other agencies,” said Pfingston, also a family life educator at Care Corps. “It’s frustrating for both parties when they get to the point of gaining independence and they can’t get to that next step.”
She provided an example of a single mother who had to have a car repair and couldn’t afford it. Not getting the car repaired would prevent her from working and she would lose her home. Uniquely Yours can help in a situation like that, she said.
“We will address any hardship within our guidelines,” Pfingston said. “I find who offers the solution and ask them to be part of our service link.”
The service link is a list of local service providers, from dentists to moving truck renters, who will provide discounts for services paid for by the program.
Another example she gave was of a woman who was transitioning out of Care Corps who badly needed dental work done so she could further her life.
“One of our first referrals was a mother in so much dental pain that she couldn’t seek employment,” Pfingston said, adding a local dentist offered a large discount to fix the woman’s teeth. “Three days later she was going out for an interview.”
Another example given was a single mother who needed to register her car in order to transition out of homelessness, but couldn’t afford it. Uniquely Yours was able to help provide funds to get car tags.
“We aren’t another agency with a different twist on something already done,” Pfingston said. “We provide help with things that aren’t covered by other agencies.”
She said a grant requires a meeting and tracking for one year.
“We do that to make sure we’re on target with our mission,” Pfingston said. “It will tell us any areas we need to strengthen and expand.”
Clients have to be referred by another agency and there currently are 19 agencies that Uniquely Yours is working with, including the Crisis Center and Low Income Ministries. Agencies must verify they can’t find the solution anywhere else, she said. Referrals are faxed to Pfingston and she meets with the client on the first available Tuesday.
“I usually can address the problem that Tuesday,” she said. “If that issue can be addressed, we can keep her in her home and save the community a lot of money,” Pfingston said. “Our average grant is $225 and we’ve helped 15 families so far in the Fremont area.”
During the last board meeting, held at the Dragonfly, 114 E. Military Ave., the board was discussing a fundraiser and after learning about Uniquely Yours, owners Duane and Jill Crithfield agreed to donate the Dragonfly and food service for a fundraiser. They also offered up a $12,000 vacation package to their villa in the Bahamas for a week with food service included for a live auction and certificates for the day spa and tea room.
All money raised goes to Uniquely Yours and there are no bills to be paid from the event.
“The luncheon only holds 44 seats,” Pfingston said. “When you support us, you’re supporting all these other agencies to fill the gap.”
Tickets cost $35 in advance or $45 at the door and are first come, first served.
“We are extremely blessed to be fortunate enough to have Duane and Jill Crithfield and Ann Smoot (manager of Dragonfly) to sponsor this event,” Pfingston said. “It truly is a blessing for them to be so dedicated to the community and to believe in this mission. This will help so many people.”