The Crucial Role Community Partners Make in the Lives of USI Residents

September 14, 2021

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Thanks to Community Partners and USI Family Support Specialists, this Cleveland Avenue Homes resident is well on their way to Stable and Thriving.

USI Partners are a crucial part of our ability to support the children and families living in our communities across the country. We build robust partner networks to address and connect families seeking support through services in all five of our pillars:

Education, Health, Economic Mobility, Housing Stability, and Policy & Influence.

The families residing in our communities have access to as much or as little support they need. Our culturally competent Family Support Specialists eagerly connect those supports to each household.

Supporting basic needs

In our USI Winston-Salem Cleveland Avenue Homes neighborhood, connecting with community partners and creating support systems allowed one resident to journey from food insecurity to pursuing a certificate in Electrical Lineman training.

This Cleveland Avenue Homes resident reached out to USI when they found themselves food insecure in late 2020. Their USI Family Support Specialist learned more about them and connected them to our partners at Farmers to Families. As a result of our collaboration, by the end of 2020, Farmers to Families provided 1200 boxes of food to Cleveland Avenue Homes’ families, including this resident.

Creating employment opportunities

With compassion and a referral, this resident was now food secure and ready to pursue better employment options. Over the next month, USI hosted a job fair with many employment partners and local businesses ready to hire. By attending, this resident was able to network and apply for two jobs. In a few months, they were hired and drastically increased their monthly income.

By creating opportunities not just for residents but also local businesses and partners, like through job fairs, USI can support the local community through the community’s workforce.

Securing housing stability

Despite their employment, this resident found themselves behind on rent due to various circumstances, a major one being COVID-19. Because of COVID-19’s impact on the nation’s families at large, the U.S. government created the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). As a result, our Family Support Specialists in USI Winston-Salem got to work assisting and supporting all residents who qualified for rent relief and worked diligently to get as many as they could through the application process.

Discovering education options

After working in their new job for a few more months and being stably housed, this resident began to show interest in additional training and job education. The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (HAWS) and USI noticed this resident’s interest in Electrical Lineman training and used their partnership with Goodwill Industries to secure a certificate.

Impacting the future

Our Cleveland Avenue Homes resident is food and housing secure, no longer at risk of eviction thanks to the ERAP, employed making a living wage in Winston-Salem, and currently working towards their Electrical Lineman certificate. With the help of our community partners and Family Support Specialists in Winston-Salem, this resident is well on their way to creating a life that is both stable and thriving.

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