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May 22, 2018
Addressing homelessness is difficult work, and the only way to make significant strides is through a collaborative effort. For years, a group of service providers and community residents from across Larimer and Weld Counties have been meeting as the Northern Colorado Continuum of Care (NoCO CoC), a coalition aiming to develop and sustain a system of care that helps families and individuals without housing to rapidly and permanently escape homelessness. United Way of Larimer County and United Way of Weld County have worked together to provide cross-county leadership and infrastructure to this group. The cornerstone effort of the NoCO CoC is building and implementing a Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement System, or CAHPS.
The goal of CAHPS is to streamline access to housing for people experiencing homelessness by using a common housing assessment tool across the region, maintaining one community-wide list (rather than relying on each housing program to keep their own list for referrals), and using assessment data as well as service provider knowledge to refer those who are the most vulnerable and the most in need to available housing. This process started with veterans over two years. To date, these collective efforts have resulted in 235 veterans and their families -- over 68% of all veterans in the region who have been assessed – accessing permanent housing. There’s still more work to do, including finding housing for those veterans remaining on the list and replicating this success with our non-veteran adult and family populations.
The NoCO CoC recognizes that we’ll be able to better reach these goals if we have greater local control over our data collection, planning efforts, and funding strategies. Currently, Larimer and Weld Counties are tied into a 56-county region (the Balance of State Continuum of Care) that receives federal funds to support the housing that flows through CAHPS. We believe we can make more progress in our efforts to house those experiencing homelessness if we receive these federal funds directly into our own two-county region rather than through this 56-county region. Members of the NoCO CoC are actively working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and others to make this shift, knowing this will enable us to leverage the infrastructure and partnerships we’ve built locally to better plan for and implement a system to help those in our community experiencing homelessness to regain and retain housing.
- Vanessa Fenley currently works as a consultant, providing support to the NoCO CoC and the Northern Colorado CAHPS. She has worked over a decade in various non-profit and public sector roles, developing and evaluating community-level strategies to address behavioral health, homelessness, and affordable housing needs. She holds a Masters degree in Sociology from the University of Kansas and a PhD in Public Affairs from the University of Colorado – Denver.
One of the best ways Executive Directors can serve their organization, mission, Board, staff, volunteers, and customers is to be constantly challenging themselves and learning. To help do so, United Way of Larimer County is offering this low cost, high impact executive-level training and coaching this winter at The Community Impact Center.
Our trainer, Maro Zagoras, has trained some of the largest nonprofits in the country in her 30 years of professional experience. As a Fort Collins resident, she is excited about offering this premier training to organizational leaders making a difference in our community.
There are 25 spots for highly motivated nonprofit Executive Directors.
The total investment of 3 half-day trainings and peer support: $75 per E.D. to cover refreshments, lunch, and course materials. United Way of Larimer County is underwriting this training.
“I found myself looking at my calendar each month for when I got to go to the next training. The support for me personally was critical.” - Donna
"Maro translates complex theory down to practical, usable examples that are critically important to NPO leadership. She does it with humor, patience, and on neutral ground." - Cheryl
"This training program provided an incredible framework and support structure for better understanding my own leadership skills and potential. Maro's facilitation skills, sense of humor, and obvious depth of knowledge encouraged me to move forward with renewed enthusiasm and a strong sense of my abilities. What I learned from Maro, formally and informally, has aided me in both my work and career decisions. Thumbs up for Maro." - John
"'Working with Maro is an enriching, productive and fun experience. She is a true pro that keeps groups on task to achieve outcomes while creating space, energy and an atmosphere of inspiration and comfort that promotes growth. She has a real talent at making each and every person she works with feel important, worthy and talented and uses their strengths to help them find solutions." - Abbie
“When I was selected last year to be part of the Leaders Forum, I did not know what it was all about nor was I sure what benefit I would have from attending. Once selected, I got many surveys asking about what I knew and what I’d like to learn about. I met with Maro who is such a genuine person and showed true interest in helping not only my organization but myself as its leader. As the months went by, our group grew in knowledge and also a bond formed with the other attendees. Maro started empowering us to teach, share and practice within the safety of our group. Now a year later, I look back at the Leaders Forum as a huge success. I not only gained skills and knowledge but I gained friendship, accountability partners, other ED’s I can call on and call on me!” - Jon
“This training is incredibly valuable…
Add to that, I have made friends and become more open and comfortable where I wasn’t before. I remember looking around the room my first day and thinking, ‘I don’t belong here, all these folks have it together and I don’t have any idea what I am doing’ however, now I think ‘I have no idea what I’m doing, but at least no one else does either!’ Kidding aside, this will be one of the best personal and professional experiences you will ever have.” - Ashleigh
"Maro is always willing to better understand the needs and challenges that this community’s non-profit leaders have and she finds ways to help them! Maro's passion for what she does clearly shows in the quality of her work and in her efforts to help strengthen the local non- profit community and their leaders."- Kristi
“The incredible experience and expertise of Maro Zagoras in our meetings is beyond anything I could have expected. Maro is one of the most influential actors in my new career. Maro created a judgement-free zone where E.D.s can share their challenges and get support.” - David
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