Decatur nonprofit launches Father’s Day fundraiser

BY CHRISTINE FONVILLE
and KATHY MITCHELL

A Decatur-based nonprofit is honoring Father’s Day through a fundraiser that will go toward reuniting fathers facing housing insecurities and other obstacles with their families.

According to officials with CaringWorks, the Father’s Day fundraising campaign will provide access to a number of supportive services.

“Although CaringWorks provides services to everyone, a significant portion of our clients are men who are working to regain stability and rebuild their families, but they require access to comprehensive mental and behavioral health services as well as other services to make sustainable change,” said CaringWorks officials.

CEO and co-founder of CaringWorks Carol Collard said the community the organization serves is approximately 88 percent male and African American. She estimates that the organization serves more than 800 clients a year.

Homelessness is a devastating condition, according to Collard, who said that it not only affects the physical and mental health of those who experience it, it carries with it such problems as privacy, comfort in harsh weather, difficulty in securing belongings and the threat of violence. “We seek to solve these problems one person at a time,” she said.  

CaringWorks reports that in 2021, more than 90 percent of its clients continued to be stably housed one year after they entered the organization’s program. “Men, women, and children either remained in CaringWorks housing or they moved into an independent living situation. In either case, individuals and families overcame the obstacles that, in the past, had contributed to them ending up on the streets over and over again,” according to The CaringWorks website.

Describing CaringWorks as one of the largest social services organizations of its type in the metro Atlanta area, Collard explained that the nonprofit was founded 20 years ago as an affiliate to an organization offering similar services. “They closed their doors in 2010 and we took over the services they had been providing,” she explained, adding that CaringWorks started providing behavioral health services six years ago.

“Our focus is on the chronically homeless community, which means either those who remain homeless for an extended period of time—usually 12 months or longer—or repeatedly lapse into homelessness after brief periods of being housed. When this happens, it usually means the person has other challenges that are preventing him or her from establishing a stable housing situation,” Collar said. “This may mean physical or mental health issues or a range of other concerns. We seek to address whatever the person’s needs are.”

CaringWorks provides short-term and long-term housing, residential and outpatient treatment, and supportive services such as childcare, legal assistance, transportation and similar services. “We work with a wide range of agencies to see that our clients get the services they need to lead safe, healthy and productive lives,” Collard said. “Among them is the federal Housing and Urban Development department, which supplements the cost of housing based on the person’s income and we pay the difference. In some cases, the income is zero.”

Additionally, CaringWorks provides employment in the community as it hires contractors, full- and part-time employees. “We offer a competitive salary along with a comprehensive package of benefits. Our employees are offered ample opportunity for training and advancement,” the website states.

Bradley Porter, a recent graduate of the Deaf Bridges to Recovery (DBR) program at CaringWorks Hope House residential facility in downtown Atlanta, said completing the program helped him find a job, stable housing, and reconnect with his daughter.

“We want to have a relationship and I’ve missed that bond that we did share. So, getting that back has been the best thing ever,” Porter said of the DBR program that is the only one of its kind in the Southeast focused on helping those who are homeless in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

“Father’s Day contributions from the community will help fathers like Bradley get support,” said CaringWorks officials, who added that:
• $25 feeds a Hope House resident for a week.
• $50 supplies an outfit for job interviews.
• $100 supports job-readiness training.
• $250 provides a mental health assessment for an uninsured adult.
• $500 provides a fully furnished apartment.
Visit http://www.caringworksinc.org/fathersday for more information.

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