With a grant from The Bank of America Foundation’s Neighborhood Builder program, the nonprofit modified a 35-foot RV to serve as a mobile office for emergency financial assistance.
“It’s a very radical departure from what we’ve done before. We’ve always been a fixed office, but there is a part of society that is not served by public transportation,” said Ann Salleras, the nonprofit’s director of assistance services.
“We are serving areas that are off the bus routes where transportation to our main office can be much more complicated.”
Clients are seen by appointment only. After being prescreened on the phone, they are told exactly what documentation they need to bring to their appointment.
Letting people know what they have to show to the caseworker in order to get a problem resolved eliminates the need for a second or third visit. At the main office, clients are seen on a first come, first served basis with no prescreening, so often they don’t have the necessary documents, Salleras said.
“Particularly if it’s a really stressful situation, we’ve found that people can be so frazzled they don’t have what they need and have to go home to get it and come back,” she said.
The mobile outreach began mid-April, and at present the RV is on the road every Wednesday.
“Right now as we’re starting out all the locations are in Johns Creek. It’s perceived to be affluent but there are people who come here from that area,” Salleras said.
The front of the vehicle has a reception area for clients. The RV’s bedroom was remodeled into an office for the caseworker on duty.
The office has a check-cutting apparatus and a printer, so after a case is analyzed and evaluated, and if approved, a check can be immediately presented to the client.
On the first Wednesday of the month the mobile facility is at Perimeter Church, on the second it’s Bridge to Grace, Mount Pisgah on the third and Ocee Library on the fourth.
Appointments can be made from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The mobile caseworker is able to see up to eight clients a day, but so far the average number of people seeking help has been two or three at each site, Salleras said.
“It’s been slow. People don’t know what we’re doing yet,” she said.
For more information, visit www.nfcchelp.org.