House Manager Report
February 7, 2019

Client Statistics – We served 176 households in January:  263 adults and 239 children for a total of 502 people.  35 were new clients.  We averaged 9 clients per day in January.  We were open 19 days in January.  We were closed for 3 days the last week of January due to the extreme cold conditions.

Saturdays – On Saturday, February 2nd, we had 2 clients.  We had 4 enthusiastic volunteers and got a lot of work done.

Volunteers – Currently we have 29 reliable volunteers.  Four of our volunteers come in more than one day a week.  We have a new volunteer (a man) starting Monday, February 11th.  We also have an extremely enthusiastic and productive person doing community service for the next few months. 

Donation Status –
We continue to get very generous donations.  People continue to find us on-line, hear from friends, or are referred to us by other organizations – primarily Delonis and the VA hospital.  We were able to increase the limits on some of our children’s clothes, such as boys pants.  We were able to raise the limit from 1 to 2.

What we need:

  • Pots and pans
  • Twin size sheets
  • Blankets of all sizes
  • Small appliances
  • Backpacks/suitcases
  • Plus size women’s clothes
  • Dinner size plates

Business/Community Contacts –

  • The BOND organization of students decided our needs were not a good fit for their organization so they won’t be doing a project with us after all
  • A student from EMU has been approved by her professor to work with the board and the volunteers to help us with board structure and volunteer procedures.  Both could be very useful to us.
  • In April, I will give a brief presentation to the Dixboro United Methodist Church congregation about House by the Side of the Road.  Dixboro UMC has been a long-time supporter of the House in many ways.  They want to do a “project” for us.  I am making a list of possibilities.  Suggestions are welcome!
  • Alpha Phi Omega at the U of M sent a very enthusiastic volunteer to the House this past week.  He seems eager to come back.

Community Outreach –

  • The Board of DAPCO (Destiny and Purpose Community Outreach) has approved having a relationship with the House.  We will provide space once a week where DAPCO can give out free diapers and wipes to clients in need.  We will coordinate in referring clients to one another.
  • On February 11th, we will have a table along with other non-profits at the Scott Westerman Pre-school and Family Center on Boardwalk.  We do this annually.
  • We continue to donate clothes regularly to 2nd Baptist Church of Ann Arbor and the Belleville Clothes Closet.  We get enough donations that we can help support these other organizations that have the same client base we have.

Facility Status –

  • We keep the back hallway very, very clear. But it continues to be a challenge with the amount of donations we are receiving.
  • We continue to receive positive comments from donors and clients about how well organized the shopping area is.
  • One of the volunteers donated a NEW sewing machine to the House so that our seamstress could take her own sewing machine back home. 
  • No progress on the awning, carpet cleaning, signage for back door, or bathroom upgrade.  There may be some opportunity for grants here.

Safety Issues –
No known issues.

Areas that need attention –

  • Documenting procedures – A group of 3 volunteers will work on updating the check-in and checkout procedures.  Our EMU student may help us out in this area!
  • Training new volunteers – this will also be addressed by the EMU student.
  • Managing our overflow of donations – suggestions are welcome!

Client Stories –

  • One client had just got out of prison after being incarcerated for 14 years.  He said he was a “new” person.  He had turned around about 10 years ago and received a lot of good support from various organizations while in prison.  He came for clothes and other household items but he especially wanted scissors and a needle (both of which we were able to find for him).  Our seamstress volunteered to make him a sewing kit.  He will come back for that.  He is determined to repair his own clothes.
  • One person was shopping for a woman who had just left an abusive relationship, had several children and one of the young girls had been raped.  The woman was not in a position to do the shopping for herself and her children.
  • One woman who does house cleaning for a living, contacted us to see what she could donate to the House.  She had heard about us from one of our Board members.  When she was a child, her mother was on welfare and used our services for the children.  She was very pleased to be able to be giving back.

Overall Appearance and Organization –

  • The shopping area looks great.  We have made great strides in cleaning out the storage room and reducing the amount of items in the sorting area.  Many, many items got moved out to the floor.
  • Computer plans – We are still waiting for the installation of software to help speed up client check-in and checkout.  I have had enough paper forms printed for the next 2 months.

Issues – (no change from last month):

  • Language barriers – There is still room for improvement here.  That was one of the concerns brought up at the volunteer meeting.
  • Donation overflow (see above)
  • Getting even more volunteers

Submitted by,
Mary Danforth, House Manager