WIGS is specifically organized to minimize overhead costs and unnecessary meetings. We recognize how busy our members are and want to maximize the use of their time while allowing them to direct how best to use the groups funds.
The WIGS Oversight Committee, consisting of both Founding and Sustaining members, is responsible for organizing an annual spring members’ luncheon at which the Executive Director of PHP presents the various programs. At the Annual Meeting Members vote on the programs they wish to support and the Oversight Committee compiles the votes as a basis for their funding recommendations to the PHP Board. The WIGS Oversight Committee acts as an advisory committee to the Board of Directors of People Helping People.*
* Although the expectation is that these recommendations will be followed, as required by law, it is the Board of PHP that makes the final allocation.
2017 Funding amounts and program allocations
In 2017, $28,000 was raised to support PHP programs. At the 2017 luncheon, WIGS members voted to fund the following five PHP programs at the designated levels:
|Children’s Dental Fund||4%||$1,120|
|S.Y.V. High School Mentoring||13%||$3,640|
|Services to Seniors||62%||$17,360|
Description of Funded Programs
Children’s Dental Fund
PHP maintains a revolving fund to help families without dental insurance pay for preventive care and treatment. Eligibility is limited to uninsured children ages 3-18 who are not eligible for publicly funded programs. Household income must be 250% or less of Federal poverty. PHP pays a steeply discounted fee to participating dentists. Families are required to repay a portion of dental fees paid by PHP by agreeing to make monthly payments (based upon income on a sliding scale). Repayments are made at an exceptionally high rate and new money has not been added to the fund for many years. Unfortunately money needed to enroll families, set appointments, and establish repayment agreements has been in short supply and is needed for continued operation.
PHP continues to engage numerous local dentists in the Fund’s program who treat PHP clients at a discount. To date, 18 students 3-18 years old have been treated at a total cost to PHP of $3,200 and a total value of nearly $8,500.
S.Y.V. High School Mentoring
This longstanding mentoring program addresses Santa Ynez and Refugio High School students who are at-risk of not graduating from high school and who are also experiencing other risk factors that interfere with their personal growth and success in and out of school. The program includes one-on-one academic mentoring and provides a place for students to come to before school, during nutrition break and lunch, and after school for needed sup- port. These students can enjoy ping pong, hang out with friends, access computers for homework and research, and benefit from the one-on-one coaching that our PHP Mentor, Hector Garcia, provides. The Program’s primary objective is to equip and inspire all students to graduate and pursue further education beyond high school.
The High School Mentoring Program continues to have high enrollments and success. Hector is currently working with 45 case managed students and 20-25 that drop in each day. Last year, all eligible seniors once again graduated and students are on course this year to equal that record. A large part of Hector’s success is the strong relationships he has developed with students and school administrators, counselors, and faculty. He also assists the High School District by serving on the student crisis team and assisting students at Refugio High. Hector works closely with PHP Family Service Advocates and Mental Health Counselors in order to help each student (and family) reach their greatest potential.
Services to Seniors
According to Santa Barbara County’s Publication, “Needs of an Aging Community,” PHP’s service area, which includes the Santa Ynez and Los Alamos Valleys, has the fastest growing population of seniors. In response to this emerging need, PHP has dedicated staff trained to respond to the specialized needs of seniors. Current issues affecting seniors include lack of affordable housing, homelessness, financial insecurity, understanding and accessing the health care system, increasing physical and cognitive disabilities, and emerging mental health issues. Program goals include achieving long-term sustainable residency by providing direct financial assistance to seniors recently displaced or at-risk of homelessness; ongoing case management to ensure individual goals are met for self-sufficiency; and improving health outcomes by furnishing counseling and mental health assessments and coordinating medical care and access to home and community-based services.
To date, 54 (+10%) individuals have participated in PHP’s Services to Seniors Program (excluding Food). Services include direct financial assistance including but not limited to rental/utility assistance, coordination of care with service and health care providers, transportation, home visitation, and referrals and linkages to community-based organizations. An additional 98 (+7%) seniors participate in PHP’s Food Program.
The program’s goal is to prevent homelessness, rapidly re-house the homeless, and furnish a temporary safety net for individuals and families during times of urgent financial need. Services include short-term rent assistance payments, temporary transitional shelter, food, transportation assistance, utility payments, relocation assistance (including moving expenses), and household goods. The program is a bridge to self-sufficiency and includes the development and execution of a plan to achieve employment and housing stability.
PHP has assisted 12 families (47 individuals) to remain in stable housing. Among those assisted were two-parent families, senior couples and single men and women, a single father and mother with sole custody of multiple children. All of these clients were juggling bills for rent, utilities, healthcare, and food each month to stay afloat until finally they could not pay rent causing them to face homelessness.
Mrs. “L” lives in Buellton with her husband and two daughters’ ages 7 and 3. She and her husband are both employed in the hospitality industry. This past fall Mrs. Lopez contacted PHP’s Family Resource Center at Oak Valley School in Buellton. Initially she was apprehensive about seeking help. She shared that she had never before needed to ask for assistance. The family had medical insurance but no dental coverage. At the initial visit with PHP staff, Mrs. Lopez reported that her 3 year old daughter Mary was in pain and required dental treatment that would cost $1,800 which the family could not afford. During the meeting, Mary volunteered to show PHP’s Advocate where her teeth hurt. The Advocate immediately noticed an abscess on her tooth. Based upon the family’s income, they qualified for help from PHP’s Children’s Dental Fund. The Advocate contacted a PHP dental provider to discuss needed treatment and negotiate fees which would include the use of general anesthesia to complete the work due to Mary’s age and condition. Based upon the family’s income a partial repayment schedule was worked out and treatment was scheduled. Though mom was initially unsure about the use of general anesthesia for her daughter, Mary successfully completed the treatment. With her smile returned, Mary returned to preschool and her parents, relieved and grateful to PHP, began making their small payments to reinvest in the Children’s fund.
Other PHP Programs
PHP is a unique multi-program organization and has 14 other programs in addition to those described above. PHP has developed a model delivery system integrating services for infants, children, and adults into a “one stop” shop with multiple neighborhood access points. PHP continues to meet clients’ basic needs while working to reduce those needs.
Programs and services are organized into 4 major categories:
Basic Needs – Food Distribution, Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing, Utility and Transportation assistance, and clothing and housewares vouchers
Health Care – Community Healthcare Access, Children’s and Adult Dental Funds, Mental Health Wellness and Counseling, and Insurance Enrollment
Children and Youth – Los Alamos Afterschool Program, Youth Coalition (Drug Free Youth), High School Mentoring, Generation Kindness and Drug Free Clubs, Student Life Skills Education (Drug Abuse Prevention)
Family & Individual Support – Domestic Violence Prevention, Child Abuse Prevention, Parent Education, Advocacy, Family and Individual Strengthening, and Christmas Fulfill-A-Wish
If you would like to find out more about PHP and its programs and services visit their extensive web site at www.syvphp.org.