Upward Transitions Interview in Oklahoma City, OK
Is there anything better than helping your community by providing food for peoples in need? We in Choice Solutions Roofing and Exteriors, the best roofing contractors in Oklahoma City, OK, can only be proud and give all the praise for Upward Transition, who serves those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
To begin with, we would like you to briefly tell us about your organization
Upward Transitions’ Mission is to prevent generational poverty through community collaboration, emergency relief and empowerment, therefore inspiring hope with our neighbors experiencing housing instability.
- What do you do exactly?
And what was the reason that encouraged you to start this organization?
Our services provide assistance to families and individuals who face threats to financial stability. In many cases, Upward Transitions can provide a short-term financial bridge in the form of emergency assistance and access to community resources to maintain stability. Eligible families may work with case managers on a long-term basis to increase and develop skills that can provide a sustainable income. Case managers work closely with these families to create a plan with goals that address specific needs and create the means to avoid future homelessness.
Individuals who are homeless and working to regain their independence can turn to Upward Transitions for help. Our services provide the following forms of assistance:
◾Legal document retrieval assistance for clients who are homeless (birth certificates, marriage licenses, etc.)
◾State ID purchase assistance for clients who are homeless
◾Utility and public housing rent deposits
◾Linkage to other services
- What motivates you?
Describe your mission passion
At UT, we focus our assistance on families with young children whose housing security is at risk. Children growing up in a culture of poverty face many challenges. Frequently, they don’t get adequate sleep or enough to eat. These children might not have the opportunity to bathe nor have clean clothes to wear. The longer children experience this culture of generational poverty, the less likely they are to reach their full potential as adults.
- Tell us about your goals
Our ultimate goal end generational poverty in Oklahoma City by assisting individuals and families to reach their potential with the ability to support themselves and contribute back to their community.
Upward Transitions is committed to community development and advocacy for those who are poor and homeless.
- What was the hardest/toughest moment you had to deal with?
Obstacles you faced when dealing with bureaucracy, permits, funding, etc. Something you would like to point out to anyone who might be starting their own organization.
The need in our community is great, and we simply can’t help everyone who contacts us. Not being able to help a family needing assistance with rent or utilities because funding is not available is heartbreaking.
- What was the most fulfilling moment that happened to you?
Every day, we work with clients to move them one step closer to becoming self-sufficient. Our work is fulfilling whether we are helping an individual who is homeless obtain legal documents or a state ID so they may obtain work or secure housing or we are helping a family with young children pay rent or utility bills to ensure their children have a place to call home.
- What separates you from the rest? Why you?
Upward Transitions began as Travelers Aid in 1925. We are a recognized and respected provider of relief assistance. We use a strengths based case management model, and we strive to empower and encourage our clients build stability, rather than foster codependency.
- Do you have any upcoming events in the forthcoming months?
Our annual fundraiser, American Tourist: Cruising The Caribbean is Friday, May 4, 2017 at OKC’s Historic Farmers Public Market. Each year, over 400 guests head to a new “destination”. The evening includes silent and live auctions; wine, jewelry and restaurant pulls; music and dancing; food from a variety of area restaurants and refreshing beverages. The dress is casual and tickets are less than $100. Past destinations include the Orient Express, New Orleans, Havana, the Derby and Cinco de Mayo. Sponsorship opportunities are available.
- What is it that you love most about what you do?
The assistance UT provides not only helps families and individuals obtain or maintain their place called home, it helps restore hope.
- What is the biggest challenge you’re faced with today?
Every month, Heartline 211 receives nearly 1,500 calls for rent and utility assistance. Heartline refers most of those callers to Upward Transitions (UT). Our phone rings non-stop with people seeking assistance. Unfortunately, current funding allows us to help less than two percent of these callers.
- Anything else you would like to add?
Upward Transitions also operates the two Travelers Aid information booths at Will Rogers World Airport 365 days a year by an all volunteer staff. Trained volunteers provide information on airport services and the Oklahoma City metro area, assist stranded travelers and military personnel, and provide referral resources to individuals with social service needs.
Contact: How can people reach out to you?
Your organization’s name, phone, address, e-mail and links to your website and social media
1134 W. Main Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73106