More than 40% of Washington County (WC) households fall below income levels required to support a "survival budget," forcing individuals and families to choose between basic life necessities and leaving them unprepared for emergency costs, according to the 2017 ALICE report — which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed.
WC is a community that has struggled for generations and has not fully recovered from the recession of 2008. Based on 2014 data, 29% of WC's 54,722 households fall into the ALICE range, meaning above the federal poverty level of $23,850 but below a "survival" budget amount of $58,788 for a four-person household. Add in the 13% of households at or below the poverty level, and the county ranks fourth highest in the state at 42%, or nearly 23,000 households. It is hard enough for these families to support themselves but when unforeseen costs arise, including a car breaking down or major health issues, it can cause a family to spiral into a financial crisis.
Our Crisis Intervention Program aims to reduce the homeless rate in WC by providing financial, resource, and support services to adult residents for rent, security deposits, and utility shutoffs, as well as assistance for food, clothing, medication, IDs, birth certificates, and other basic needs.
Earn While You Learn Training
To help individuals reach their goals, our EWYL Program teaches critical life management skills that may never have been learned or have been lost during physical or mental illness, domestic violence, substance use, incarceration, and homelessness. These services are essential for program participants to function independently in the community.
With the goal of self-sufficiency in mind, we require each unemployed client to attend up to 6 hours’ worth of Earn While You Learn (EWYL) classes in order to receive up to $150 in financial aid or support services for such pressing needs as rent or security deposits, utility shutoffs, ID’s, birth certificates, clothing, baby supplies, and more. This requirement is very similar to DSS’s Temporary Cash Assistance Program (TCA). In order to receive TCA, unemployed clients must volunteer up to 30 hours per week for the duration of their enrollment in the program.
Valor's class offerings cover a range of topics such as how to set healthy boundaries, money management, how to get a job, how to be a better parent, retraining your brain to get rid of toxic thinking, and how to move from crisis to thriving. We also have classes that help clients find out about their unique personalities, talents, and abilities and how being in their optimum environments can help them be successful in both their personal and professional lives.
Classes are FREE and are held at the Valor Crisis and Training Center or online which allows program participants to learn using their computers, tablets, or mobile devices from the comfort of their own home. When a client registers, they are asked if they want to join in person or remotely. Once registered, they receive an email confirmation receipt. Those registering for remote classes also receive a second email with an invitation and link to the ZOOM meeting platform.
We now offer our clients a second option to attend classes. Our new ValorExcel School is up and running. This new digital platform allows us to distribute self-paced courses online. The software we have chosen allows us to host and deliver our course content, offer greater accessibility, process registrations, and obtain real-time reporting. It provides our clients with an engaging learning experience without time constraints and all the administrative headaches. Click the link above to take you directly to the digital training portal.
Personal Development Coaching
Some class participants find what they are learning to be of great benefit. With their new perspective, they express interest in taking the next step toward positive and long-lasting change. That is when we introduce them to the concept of personal development coaching.
Coaches guide clients on what to do in both their personal and professional lives. They support goal-setting, personal growth, and behavior modification for their clients. They help people by educating and coaching them on how to identify and achieve goals and improve different actions necessary to take control of future plans. They also work to improve client's self-esteem, social competence, ability to avoid problem/high-risk behaviors, and to reach their fullest potential.
Please note: This program is NOT meant to be a substitute for counseling or treatment for psychiatric problems or suicidal thoughts.
Through a strategic partnership with Potomac Case Management Services (PCMS), THRIVE Connect provides quick, secure and consistent access to effective treatment options crucial for people with mental illness.
If the client is not yet linked to a therapist or mental health service provider, caseworkers and coaches offer an immediate connection to PCMS who meets with them to discuss a range of service options available. PCMS then creates an individualized care plan based on the strengths and specific needs of the client and/or family. They utilize a multidisciplinary approach for client care by coordinating with psychiatry, therapy and other pertinent members of the client’s team to ensure the maximum potential of success.
Day Reporting Center
Valor partners with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to provide soft-skills instruction and pro-social supports to participants sentenced as an alternative to incarceration within the WC Detention Center. The DRC is an on-site, nonresidential program that is designed to change an offender’s adverse thinking patterns and attitudes, improve job skills and job retention.
THRIVE SNAP ET
Working to meet the objectives of the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the MD Department of Human Services (DHS) to create and support efficient, effective customer-centered employment and training programs for former SNAP recipients.
All efforts to find employment for under or unemployed persons are essential since a steady income will improve quality of life and reduce both impoverishment and the high service and welfare costs engendered by this group. Valor's “Overcoming Employment & Training Barriers Next Steps Guide” offers step-by-step resource guidance to program participants in need of employment, training, or educational opportunities to help them thrive. This guide serves as a starting point and helps clients take the necessary steps in order to reach their life and career
Safe, secure affordable housing is a basic human need and many renters are burdened due to rent increases. We help clients find affordable rental housing, determine how much rent they can afford, learn budgeting tools and techniques to help them improve their credit, know their fair housing rights, and resolve landlord/tenant disputes.
We developed a rental assistance workbook that is a compilation of pertinent and timely information to aid clients in their search for rental housing. Besides the workbook, we work with clients to develop household budgets, determine what they can afford to pay for rent, establish if they are eligible for assistance, apply for rental assistance, and identify an appropriate unit. We teach them their rights and responsibilities. We support them as they navigate the rental process, from paying deposits to signing and ending a lease. We also educate our clients about financial planning and good rental practices. We help renters develop and maintain financial literacy through counseling on budgeting, credit, and financial literacy for a future homeownership. We also teach good rental practices such as obtaining rental insurance and maintaining a healthy home.
Our team of entrepreneurs and management professionals provide specialized consulting, instruction and development options targeted to your organization's specific needs. If you have the determination it takes to establish, expand or improve your ministry, church, nonprofit, or business entity, we can help you work smarter, not harder!
We bring business, nonprofit, and church management experience together for maximum results. Many of us have established our own successful businesses (both for-profit and non-profit) which makes us uniquely qualified to know the challenges and obstacles that others may face along the way.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
This place saved my life in many ways. I learned how to money manage and increase my self motivation. Stop in, there's nothing to lose.
Valor became an important part of my recovery. I was treated with respect.
I love everything Valor has to offer. They are amazing people doing amazing things for the community.