CSA’s Post-Pandemic Operations

CSA’s Post-Pandemic Operations

Community Service Alliance believes strongly that our organizational response to the recent public health crisis has been a source of genuine pride for us and deserves to be highlighted.

Indeed, while the world we are living in is quite different now than it was just a short time ago, CSA responded to the pandemic not with closed doors or shuttered programs, but with a sense of purpose and resolve. Our response was immediate, aggressive and mission-driven. Our primary goal was, and remains, the safety and cleanliness of our houses, and the health, well-being and sobriety of the men we serve. Despite the many challenges we had to face – difficulties finding paper products and cleaning supplies, discontinuing meals and group activities at all of our housing sites, requiring masks and restricting visitors, supporting our residents who no longer had AA/NA meetings to attend, assisting the men we serve with unemployment applications, stimulus check verification, and a variety of job-related challenges, putting the technology and resources in place to assist staff and our residents in making virtual connections with others, and so much more – we never closed our doors and we never ceased any programming. And most importantly, we did not experience any significant cases of COVID-19 AND only very few CSA residents relapsed during the months of quarantine and community shutdown – something for which we are very proud.

In fact, we actually enhanced the programs we offer to the men we serve. Our new Homeward Program assists men moving on from CSA with the essentials to help set up their new apartment. Working in partnership with the Cleveland Furniture Bank, CSA works closely with residents who are prepared to move on to independent housing and assists with securing furniture, general household items, and kitchen supplies so that their move into a new place is not as daunting or expensive. A new educational mentorship program being done in conjunction with Tri-C is assisting some residents with returning to school, specifically in high-tech areas of study. It is also providing shorter-term training to help develop the skills for men to return to the workforce more quickly. We’ve worked in collaboration with Buckeye Business Products in their efforts to hire unprecedented numbers of employees from economically-disadvantaged areas and put them to work in well-paying jobs. We’ve worked cooperatively with True Freedom Ministries and Woodpecker Industries to enhance job opportunities for CSA residents. And we’ve partnered with Unite Ohio to significantly open up our referral network and more quickly respond to inquiries and referrals of men in need of our programming. Our Board of Directors, Mission Services Committee and other volunteers have all been essential in these efforts. Rather than view the pandemic as a threat or a possibility of loss, we looked at it as an opportunity to stay mission-focused and tailor our efforts to meet the changing needs of residents, referral sources, employers, and other nonprofit organizations.

Every individual and every organization have been impacted by COVID-19, and the new reality – the “new normal” – is still unfolding. At CSA, we believe we are well prepared to move into the future with the same level of confidence, creativity and compassion as we’ve operated with throughout our 15+ year history.

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