Aleisha Tunstall is the Grant Research and Development VISTA at Our Daily Bread (ODB). ODB is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit community soup kitchen located in Denton, TX, that provides nutritious meals, special services and referrals for other services to those in need. Currently, Aleisha is working under the direction of the Executive Administrator to create a Volunteer Council for Our Daily Bread. Aleisha is outlining the roles of the Volunteer Council and its mission. The Volunteer Council is estimated to begin serving at ODB around September of 2017. The purpose of the Volunteer Council is to take the place of the Volunteer Coordinator position and take over volunteer communications, recognition, and database duties.
February was the last month of service for VISTA Casey McCollum, and he focused his efforts on ending one of his larger projects. Through a grant awarded in the previous month, Casey focused on procuring a work van for his agency Denton Affordable Housing (DAH). Through research, he found a great deal on a used van in Ft. Worth. It is a 2011 model vehicle with 95,000 miles, in really good shape. The grant was awarded for $18,000, but the VISTA was able to talk the seller down to $14,000 which will allow DAH to use the remaining funds for signage on the van and an insurance policy. The remaining amount will be sent back to CoServ. This van will be a great asset to DAH by saving money paid out to contractors for mileage to their personal vehicles.
VISTA Casey McCollum with Denton Affordable Housing Corporation (DAHC) has been hard at work to submit another grant for his agency. Casey has submitted the HOME program grant through the city of Denton this past month, asking for $60,000 in funds. DAHC will use this grant money to rehabilitate properties they own for use by MHMR. These are important group homes in use for those with mental health needs. Keeping these properties safe and up to date is vital to the health of not only the residents, but also the MHMR staff. As Casey nears his end of service, his hard work has definitely shown!
Denton Affordable Housing Corporation (DAHC) works to increase the number of affordable housing options for the citizens of Denton County Texas. Grants VISTA, Casey McCollum has worked diligently to find funding to purchase a maintenance vehicle. His work paid off as the CoServ Foundation awarded DAHC with $18,000, enough to purchase a cargo van outright. The van will be used to clean and maintain housing properties owned by agency and leased to clients. By owning its own cargo van, DAHC will save future time and money by not paying contractors to clean their properties.
Casey McCollum, a Policy Development and Grant Research VISTA serving at Denton Affordable Housing Corp. (DAHC) has completed the necessary updates on the agency’s Personnel Handbook and is now back to grant writing. He has submitted a grant proposal for $15,000 to the Meadows Foundation. If awarded DAHC will use the funding to purchase a truck to use for maintenance and cleaning properties. A purchase of a maintenance truck will save DAHC from paying contractors to use their vehicles; thus allowing the agency to put other funding towards housing low-income clients.
Casey McCollum, a VISTA with Denton Affordable Housing Corporation (DAHC), has spent the last few weeks updating the agency’s personnel policies. He has contacted other area non-profit agencies and reviewed their policies, which he found to be particularly helpful. In addition, Casey interviewed the current DAHC staff to gather input on policies; such as vacation time, benefits, and procedures for time-sheets. While this project is behind the scenes and does not require interaction with tenants, it is extremely important to have up-to-date policies for employees from a legal standpoint and from a workplace morale standpoint. Having clear policies and procedures for the staff gives them a peace of mind and confidence that translates into better performance and tenant care.
Policy Development and Grants Research VISTA
The Policy Development and Grants Research VISTA at DAHC will work with the Executive Director to evaluate, update and enhance the agency’s Rental program, Homeownership program, administration procedures and organizational policies to ensure efficient operation. The VISTA will research grant sources available in the DAHC geographical area and develop a plan for submitting grant applications. The VISTA will write, coordinate or lead at least 4 grants with a total potential value of $500,000. Grants written will support the construction of a 21 unit complex with office space for supportive agencies. The units will be occupied by individuals and families experiencing homelessness or near homelessness.