Alexandria House provides a two year transitional housing program and aftercare services to women and women with children in Los Angeles, California. In early 2020, Alexandria House connected with Aunt Bertha through another member of the nonprofit community. Shortly after, their staff participated in a community workshop held at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, introducing them to Aunt Bertha. This workshop explained the Aunt Bertha network, how the database of social care programs could help their residents, and how to expand their impact throughout their community. With findhelp.org, Aunt Bertha’s free online resource, Alexandria House is now able to efficiently serve their current and former residents while also helping others in the community navigate to services.
How Aunt Bertha meets Alexandria House’s Needs:
- Aunt Bertha’s comprehensive database of social care programs has made it easy for Alexandria House staff to find resources for their residents and community members; and
- Alexandria House staff can now easily and efficiently direct people in need to nearby programs on findhelp.org.
About Alexandria House
Alexandria House is a transitional residence and house of hospitality. They provide safe and supportive housing for women and children in the process of moving from emergency shelter to economic stability and permanent housing. Located in the densely populated and ethnically diverse Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles, they also serve their broader neighborhood community by providing educational and enrichment opportunities.
When Alexandria House first opened their doors to help their community in Los Angeles, they quickly noticed that housing wasn’t the only issue these individuals were facing. With the federal definition of homelessness being so narrow, people are left to call any and all programs they find, including Alexandria House. Calls range across all categories of need, addiction recovery, transportation, food, and domestic violence support. While Alexandria House is able to provide transitional housing and client case management, they do not have the physical capacity to help all those in need who contact them. To make matters more difficult, they also experience a high call volume, averaging 1,000 a month, from individuals seeking help in the LA area.
Alexandria House aims to not turn someone away without a next step or lead for other services; going to great lengths to still help people they can’t directly assist. The struggle to find resources for the people that called them for help was insurmountable. To address these challenges, they collected resources as their staff learned and networked, or as people who called gave them new information. They resorted to manually writing this new information down in a shared book, but found it very difficult to keep their information updated, as nonprofit organizations tend to quickly run out of space and resources.
“We struggled to find ways to get resources to people who called in or stopped by our organization when we didn’t have resources to give right away,” says Madison Craigo, a case worker at Alexandria House, “there’s so much need in Los Angeles right now and there are a lot of resources that are able to give help, but we found difficulty in connecting the two.”
Alexandria House staff wanted an easy way to get resources to folks who called them seeking shelter. Not all callers are able to write down numbers and names, or even get internet access to look up information on their own.
How Alexandria House Amplified their Impact with findhelp.org
“We went to an opening meeting with Aunt Bertha and learned about the site and started putting it to work,” says Madison Craigo, “I shared it with our staff and made a lot of folders for the various people and situations I usually get calls about.”
Alexandria House has specific needs for their current and former clients and their greater community. With a wide variety of needs beyond housing, such as mental health, job readiness, and rental assistance, they found that findhelp.org encompassed exactly what they needed — a strong database of resources that was quick, easy, and reliable. Through Aunt Bertha’s Favorites Folders Tool Alexandria House staff now creates lists of regularly used programs to share, so that they can easily reference them when they’re on calls.
The user-friendly Aunt Bertha platform has empowered Alexandria House to help people they previously could not easily serve. Their staff no longer relies on manually writing down information because they know and trust the resources in Aunt Bertha are robust, up to date, and truly there for their community. Now, they supplement their capacity for those they can’t help directly by navigating findhelp.org to find a resource nearby that can help them.
“Now, when people call looking for shelter or housing, I’m able to have a conversation and find out their situation and where in LA they are currently at and cater a list of resources for them and their specific needs. Before, I would have a conversation and then have to do a little bit of research to find what places were available and close to them. Now, it’s a lot quicker and I know that the people I’m talking to are getting all of the information up front about the resources I am giving them,” says an Alexandria House staff resident.
Results of Working with findhelp.org
Aunt Bertha’s free online resource, findhelp.org, provides an opportunity for Alexandria House to amplify their impact by providing them with a comprehensive database of hundreds of thousands of vetted social care programs. Alexandria House staff can now easily search and find resources and can connect their clients to nearby programs on findhelp.org. They spend less time trying to navigate the system on their own and more time helping people in their community.