Partner Spotlight: Bridges to Independence
Bridges to Independence leads individuals and families out of homelessness and into stable, independent futures. A private, nonprofit organization, Bridges has been working with and for homeless families since 1985, when they were founded as the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless. Bridges offers a continuum of aid and support for all family members, helping them attain financial security and move forward into self-sufficiency.
Sullivan House, Bridges’ emergency shelter, provides families with a safe, supportive place to stay. Sullivan House is the largest emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness in Arlington County. The shelter, with ten one- and two-bedroom apartments, can accommodate approximately 14 families at a time. The median length of stay is 3 months. While residing at Sullivan House, individuals receive intensive assessment, counseling, and referral.
Following their shelter stay, families participate in Bridges’ Rapid Re-Housing program. The goal is to move individuals and families into safe, affordable, and permanent housing as quickly as possible. Bridges’ services include housing identification, connection to mainstream resources, financial assistance, and community-based case management. Through partnerships with landlords in the community, families are able to secure and maintain a lease in their own names, which assists them in establishing a foundation for good credit.
Last year Bridges served 460 individuals; 248 through their emergency shelter and rapid re-housing programs, and an additional 212 former participants. As homelessness is often episodic, Bridges works closely with former participants to ensure they are able to remain securely housed and do not fall into homelessness again.
Sixty percent of the people served by Bridges to Independence are children. Bridges’ youth participate in a busy schedule of activities, including opportunities for career exploration, community service, health and fitness, mentoring, tutoring and much more.
How you can get involved:
- Play Kickball! Bridges’ annual SAFE AT HOME Kickball Tournament will be Saturday, August 5. The Tournament covers all the bases –food, charity and all day kickball fun! Click here for more information.
- Volunteer with Bridges.
- Be a mentor or tutor to adults and children who need assistance with school work, are studying for a certification, working to improve their English language skills, or are seeking assistance with job applications and interview preparation.
- Provide child care while adult clients take classes on Saturdays.
- Be a runner buddy for middle school and high school youth training to run 5K races.
- Organize a supply drive of diapers, toiletries, paper products, cleaning supplies, and nonperishable food and help keep Bridges’ pantry stocked.
- Provide a child with a backpack and new outfit for the first day of school through Bridges’ Look Cool for School program.
- Make a financial gift. Bridges to Independence relies on the financial support of the community. Click here to donate online.
- Adopt-A-Family moving out of the shelter and into a home of their own .