On Tuesday April 25th, the IMPACT Organization held the largest public meeting of the year to provide solutions to community problems. Over 1,000 community members from 27 congregations assembled to urge local officials to address serious community problems
In March, IMPACT announced that action would be needed to increase affordable housing options for people over 65. Vikki Bravo, IMPACT co-president states, “Affordable housing is an important part of aging with dignity. 2800 senior households in Albemarle County struggle to keep a roof over their heads, 933 households pay nearly half their income on housing. This means that people often don’t have enough money for food, medication, utilities, and other needs. It is critical that the County create a plan for providing more affordable housing.” IMPACT leaders will seek commitments from Albemarle County leaders on addressing this startling problem.
Additionally, IMPACT leaders will commend Region Ten for recently breaking ground on a Women’s Treatment Center which will open by the end of the year to provide residential substance abuse treatment for women in the region. Back in 2015, IMPACT found that each year over 3,000 people who go through the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail are addicted to substances; for the majority of those who are women, they have also experienced sexual assault and domestic violence.
Janie Pudhorodsky, co-chair of the Women’s Treatment Strategy Committee says, “For over two years we have been working to see that women in Charlottesville who are struggling with addiction have the same treatment options available to them as men. Region Ten broke ground last week for the much needed Women’s Treatment Center. We celebrate this but continue our efforts so Charlottesville and Albemarle County will provide funding for operating costs not only in the 2017-18 fiscal year, but in future years also.”
Past IMPACT Initiatives
Problem: People who relied on the bus could not get to work on Sundays or evenings; people had to cross dangerous intersections like the I-64 interchange to be able to go grocery shopping; people were forced to spend as much as $40 on taxis to access social services because no bus line served the county government office.
Solutions: Sunday bus service in the two most heavily traveled routes (Route 7 and the Free Trolley), night service on Route 5, and creation of a new bus route to serve the County Office Building and low-income neighborhoods.
Results: Not only can more people get to work and go shopping, but ridership has increased by as much as 75% on these routes.
DENTAL HEALTH (2008)
Problem: The waiting list at the free clinic was over 1,000 people to receive dental care and too many uninsured dental cases were being seen in emergency rooms because they could not access primary dental care.
Solution: Creation of a Free Dental Clinic with full-time dentist and dental assistant.
Results: 1751 people were seen by a dentist at the Charlottesville free clinic in 2015 alone, a 1344% increase in the number of dental patients served since 2009.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING (2007, 2008, & 2009)
Problem: Far too many low- and middle-income individuals in the community are rent burdened, meaning they pay at least 30% of income for housing, with some paying as much as 50% or more of their income; there was in 2007 a 4,000 unit shortage of rental housing in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.
Solutions: We secured the creation of an affordable housing trust fund in Charlottesville City and commitment to increase housing funding in Albemarle County
Results: Over $10 million has been invested into the trust fund to date. The City has built or preserved more than 500 units of affordable housing to date and The Crossings has been developed with this funding. Since 2007, Albemarle County has built or refurbished over 350 affordable units.
INTERPRETIVE SERVICES/LANGUAGE ACCESS (2010)
Problem: There is a lack of availability of consistent quality language access services for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). Many LEP individuals, including immigrants and refugees, have difficulties when interacting with law enforcement officials.
Solution: We got the Regional Jail and both City and County Police Departments to agree to develop and implement LEP plans for their departments.
Results: The City of Charlottesville Police Department has completed their LEP Plan by training 100% of their officers in the proper protocol when addressing non-English speaking peoples. The Albemarle County Police Department and Regional Jail are currently in the process of implementing their LEP plans.
PRE-K EDUCATION (2009 & 2010)
Problem: In the county, one-third of low income students and one-quarter of their counterparts in the city are ready for kindergarten
Solutions: Access to pre-K education significantly minimizes this achievement gap and helps ensure that all children receive a quality education that enables them to succeed beyond high school.
Results: Increased enrollment and classroom expansion for low-income preschoolers. Between 90 and 100% of enrolled children in three- and four-year-old classrooms are low-income. We saw significant achievement gap decreases, with as many as 100% of students passing 3rd grade standardized tests. The City and County will continue to collaboratively expand to have 20+ pre-K classrooms and to increase enrollment to all children.
MENTAL HEALTH (2011)
Problem: Ex-offenders with mental illness only had two weeks of medications available to them when released from jail and often had to wait 3 months to get their benefit reinstated.
Solution: We got the City and County funding for Healthy Transitions, a psychiatric re-entry program between the local mental health community services board and the Probation and Parole office.
Results: Healthy Transitions has proven to reduce recidivism, homelessness, and costly emergency room visits, saving the community hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
YOUNG ADULT UNEMPLOYMENT (2012, 2013, 2014)
Problem: Over 3000 people were unemployed between the ages of 16 and 31
Solution: We got UVA Medical Center to invest $218,000 in unemployed youth to provide a training program for Certified Nursing Assistants, so that they can get on the medical career ladder. They planned to train 40 people over two years as a pilot program
Results: 76% of students are now working full time as certified nursing assistants. In January of 2017, the program expanded so that 80 students will now be trained per year.
YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH (2014)
Problem: Waiting list for psychiatric care for children at Region Ten was three months and the clinic was only providing 16 hours of services, on Friday mornings. The psychiatric assessments were required for medication and treatment, as well as being the gateway to a range of social service programs.
Solution: We got Region Ten to provide at least 40 hours of psychiatric care hours
Results: There is now a full-time Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner as well as expanded emergency services for children and families. Tele-psychiatry hours were added to Fluvanna and Greene county offices. Children and families in crisis can receive care faster.