For 35 years, Good Samaritan Haven has provided food, shelter, and welcome to persons in need. Our mission has been sustained by an abundance of volunteers, committed staff, and the generosity of the community. We were established by area clergy and continue to be well supported by many area churches and persons of faith.
It is important to remember and celebrate Good Samaritan Haven’s history and, especially, its rootedness in traditional spiritual and ethical values of hospitality and welcoming to strangers and persons in need. At the heart of Good Samaritan’s tradition is seeing the dignity and value in each person.
By welcoming each person open-heartedly, we seek to overcome barriers of race, class, and privilege and build a caring and supportive community together.
NEED FOR STRATEGIC PLAN
Our mission of providing shelter and services has become more complex and challenging. This has certainly been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic but there are other underlying trends, including an increase in the number of individuals seeking help, the severity of their trauma, and the lack of affordable housing.
Although our strategic planning efforts began late in 2019, COVID-19 underscored the urgency to move ahead for several reasons:
1. Our fully utilized shelter capacity was reduced from 76 beds to 25 in order to achieve safer social distancing.
2. Our staff faced new pressures related to the pandemic.
3. We became immersed in a much broader and more collaborative response effort.
Thus, entering the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are at a crossroads of challenge and opportunity. We want to respond to an anticipated greater need for emergency housing with a more effective array of services while holding onto and cultivating our traditional values of non-judgmental acceptance, welcome, and support.
Over the last year, our strategic planning process has engaged our staff, the Board of Directors, and a range of partners to reflect on who we are (our mission, vision, and values) in the context of these challenging times and to chart a course for the next five years. We have endeavored to stay true to our roots while challenging the old ways of doing things, and reaching out to do more. We have endeavored to create a grounded, realizable, plan that is not too modest in its aspiration. We have endeavored to renew our commitment to each and every person that comes to us in need.
- We believe safe housing is a human right.
- We honor the common humanity and diversity of all people, and are committed to treating them with fairness, dignity, and inclusiveness.
- We believe the solutions to homelessness and other systemic barriers emerge from robust community partnership and collaboration.
- We believe in meeting people where they are and addressing their needs as they define them.
Everyone has access to safe and supportive housing within a caring community.
Good Samaritan Haven provides emergency shelter and support services, offering stability, safety, and hope for people experiencing homelessness.
Good Samaritan Haven seeks to make homelessness in central Vermont rare, short-lived, and non-recurring. To achieve this goal, we will:
- Offer 24-hour trauma-informed, low barrier, emergency shelter and core services to persons experiencing homelessness in Central Vermont. We will welcome all, while maintaining behavior-based standards to maintain a safe and supportive environment.
- Engage adults experiencing homelessness wherever they are, including streets and encampments.
- Help guests move on to more secure housing options using rapid resolution and housing navigation strategies, and do more to keep people out of shelters in the first place.
- Cultivate acceptance of, and respect for, people experiencing homelessness internally and in the community.
- Promote and support a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment where all board members, staff, volunteers, and guests feel respected and valued regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation or identity, disability, education, or any other bias. We will provide equal opportunity for employment, volunteering, and advancement in all areas of our work.
HOW WILL THESE SERVICES BE PROVIDED
Good Samaritan Haven will actively seek to develop a new centrally located facility to provide emergency housing and services to guests. Together with other facilities (105 N Seminary Street and the NEST), Good Samaritan Haven seeks to house 50-75 persons at any given time. Further expansion to meet a greater level of need or to provide a range of supportive housing opportunities should continue to be examined. Furthermore:
- The new facility must provide an attractive and functional program and administrative office space.
- Good Samaritan Haven will maintain the building at 105 N Seminary Street for additional emergency housing or a related housing option, serving our guests.
- Good Samaritan Haven will respond to evolving needs for seasonal overflow shelter. By increasing the number of beds offered by Good Samaritan Haven, it is our hope that there will not be a need for an overflow shelter, but we will be ready to respond.
Good Samaritan Haven will continue to pursue and develop key community partnerships to ensure guests are successfully referred to permanent housing and receive the services they need. To do this, Good Samaritan Haven will:
- Maintain an effective working relationship with the owners of housing, including Downstreet, the Barre and Montpelier Housing Authorities, and private landlords in order to identify permanent housing options for its guests
- Help coordinate a suite of services to support the successful transition from homelessness, to temporary shelter, and to permanent housing with a focus on housing retention
- Maintain an effective working relationship with organizations to support guests’ health and housing retention. Good Samaritan Haven provides core or transitional services for its guests but some guests need support from other social service providers including, but not limited to, Washington County Mental Health, Capstone, People’s Health and Wellness Clinic, and Turning Point.
Good Samaritan Haven will invest in building a strong, supportive, staff culture, where employees feel fairly compensated, work effectively as a team, and support each other in this challenging work. This will be accomplished by:
- Providing supervisory support and training
- Developing clear job descriptions and accountabilities
- Investing in team building and communication training
- Implementing inclusive operational planning process
- Working on succession planning so job roles are well documented and adequate training systems are in place
- Reducing turnover
Good Samaritan Haven will continue to welcome volunteer involvement in order to address the need for Good Samaritan Haven services and educate the community, and determined the most appropriate system and roles for involvement of volunteers.
Good Samaritan Haven will take steps to continue to develop a high performing governance capability by:
- Developing recruitment and onboarding systems
- Planning for succession of board and executive director
- Having strategic discussions and monitoring progress
- Implementing board self-evaluations
- Increasing fundraising capacity by:
- Cultivating and recruiting board members with strong community connections and connections to wealth
- Providing training to board members
- Participating in fundraising activities as directed by the staff
Good Samaritan Haven will continue to upgrade our technological resources (equipment, systems, and skills) to operate effectively, efficiently, and securely and:
- Use technology to help clients access a range of services
- Use technology to improve administrative functions and fund development
Good Samaritan Haven will work to fund development by:
- Building staff, consultant, and board capacity to prioritize fund development from private donors, foundations, local government, and businesses
- Increasing annual giving
- Starting an endowment
Good Samaritan Haven will develop a matrix of indicators to evaluate the organization’s efficacy in meeting its strategic and operational goals.
Good Samaritan Haven will examine, consider, and improve organization’s image in its branding, social media presence, website, and all communications, and utilize each of these mediums to destigmatize homelessness and educate the public about strategies to address it.
Good Samaritan Haven will promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work with special emphasis on the involvement of individuals who have experience with homelessness by:
- Creating new learning opportunities and transparent policies as we strive for cultural competence throughout our organization
- Taking action to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in our board and leadership positions
- Developing a system to create awareness and address biases during our recruiting, hiring, and evaluating processes
- Training our personnel to be responsible for orienting, onboarding, and training our staff and volunteers on equitable practices
- Advocating for public and private policies that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion and challenge systems and policies that describe inequity, disparity, and oppression
Strategic Plan Adopted June 17, 2021