The following was printed in the Times Record on 2/17/15:
What is the mission of Tedford Housing?
Tedford Housing works with people in their communities to find lasting solutions to the challenges of homelessness. We provide shelter, housing and services that empower adults, children and families in need.
How do you fulfill that mission?
The first step is immediate shelter of the individual or family at the adult or family shelters in Brunswick. Then our case managers work with each person or family on an individual plan to obtain affordable and permanent housing. By the time a person contacts Tedford, (s)he is in crisis mode with health problems, job loss, or relationship issues- lack of housing is just one of the many problems. Tedford works with a vast array of partners and community resources to address these many challenges. Tedford links with a vast array of community resources and partnerships to achieve lasting solutions for each person and household.
What are the biggest challenges your organization faces?
Like most health and human service businesses, we are significantly impacted by cuts in government funding for services for the poor. Our shelters are almost always full, and affordable housing is in short supply throughout the Mid-coast. Even though resources are stretched, we are fortunate to be part of an incredibly generous and sophisticated community. Our supporters understand that the entire community benefits when everyone has a place to live. Individuals, local churches, civic groups, schools and businesses pitch in however they can—providing money, meals and supplies and volunteering their time.
Another challenge is the recent increase of homeless teenagers in the local school systems. We have a partnership with the Brunswick, Bath (RSU1) and Topsham (MSAD 75) schools. Last year Tedford worked with 90 students in these three school systems. The needs and legal status of teenagers is quite different from adults. Our focus is stabilizing their living situations so they have a greater chance of completing high school and having productive lives.
What is something that people don’t know about Tedford Housing?
People do not realize the size and scope of our organization. The name was changed from Tedford Shelter to Tedford Housing in 2006 to reflect our focus on a broader continuum of services, including permanent housing. While the Brunswick shelters are critical to our mission, sheltering is just a step in finding long term solutions to homelessness. We are pleased to offer supported housing (apartments for previously homeless individuals and families with a case manager) in Brunswick, Bath, Lewiston, Auburn and Augusta. We encourage people who are struggling to pay their rent to get in touch with us before they receive an eviction notice; the sooner they get in touch with us, the more options there are for us to help.
Finally, we would like people to know that we have many success stories. It is not uncommon for us to hear from someone who stayed at one of our shelters years ago, now wanting to give back. There is nothing more rewarding for us than for someone say, “Tedford saved my life. Now I want to help.”
How can people best support your mission?
There are many meaningful ways to support our mission. We invite community members to call us to discuss their interests. We welcome opportunities to present at schools, civic groups and businesses to help people understand the complexities of homelessness and services offered by Tedford Housing.