Nicholas House: Keeping Homeless Families Together

Jan 26, 2017
Nicholas House logo

We recently checked in on one of the homeless shelters we’ve worked with in the past couple of years to see how things were coming along. When we walked into Nicholas House in Grant Park on a gray we were struck by how cozy it was. The shelter, located in a century-old foursquare, is warm and inviting. Staff members were piling donated holiday gifts around the tree. A tween was heating his lunch in the kitchen. Bright walls and fun paintings underscore how welcoming the staff are to the distressed families they serve.

Nicholas House operates the shelter itself plus several transitional family apartments in the area. It’s one of the rare Atlanta homeless shelters providing housing for families regardless of makeup. Homeless families comprise about 30% of the homeless population in the U.S., with more than 1,200 families in Atlanta finding themselves homeless on any given night. Most shelters split homeless families seeking shelter according to age and/or gender; not here.

Another thing that makes the thirty-four-year-old shelter unique is how outcome-oriented it is. Nicholas House knows that providing a safe place to sleep and food to eat isn’t enough to ensure that a family doesn’t become homeless again, so they also work to address the root causes of homelessness for the families they serve.

Residents are offered counseling, skills training, medical care, and other targeted support services via partner organizations while they’re at the facility. Kids have access to tutoring, after-school programs, and mentors.

And the support continues even after they leave. Case managers check in with families for two years after they exit the program. Success at Nicholas House is measured not by the number of beds filled, but by whether a family is able to maintain its self-sufficiency.

Nicholas House is always working to make its programs even better, so tracking data and being able to quantify results is incredibly important. As they’ve grown, they’ve reached a point where their current technology solutions just weren’t cutting it.

A few years ago, Nicholas House was using spreadsheets and accounting software to manage volunteer, donor, financial, and client data, but these solutions just weren’t robust enough. They wanted to be able to run reports to allow them to interpret their data in a meaningful way, so they reached out to us.

SalesForce has been an incredible gift.

— Norma V. Nyhoff, Marketing Coordinator, Nicholas House

Thanks to generous support from NCR, we helped Nicholas House implement SalesForce to enable them to manage their data. This allows them to meaningfully track and measure data, come up with strategic campaigns, and take advantage of time-sensitive donor opportunities. Says volunteer and marketing coordinator Norma V. Nyhoff, SalesForce has been an incredible gift.

Now that Nicholas House is able to track their outcomes more effectively, they’ve found that eighty percent of the families graduating from their services maintain their own housing for a year or more after exiting the program.

We are grateful for the vital work that the folks at Nicholas House are doing to alleviate homelessness in Atlanta, and we feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to help them implement technology with such a positive effect on the families they serve.

About Our #BetterTogether Campaign

We are proud to have assisted so many organizations on the front lines of social change in our communities — alleviating homelessness, fighting poverty, helping kids do better in school, making sure seniors get proper meals, and so much more.

We created the #BetterTogether campaign so that we can showcase some of the important efforts of the nonprofits and people we’ve worked with. And because social change is a community effort, we also wanted to showcase our generous sponsors, amazing technology partners, tireless volunteers, and staff. Without them, we couldn’t do our work.

We feel that these stories exemplify the transformational work that can happen when organizations and individuals work hard — together — towards a common goal. We hope that hearing these stories is as inspirational to you as it is to us.

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