Two out of every five Teton County, Idaho residents exist in or very near poverty. Many are single parents, physically disabled, or living in multi-generational households and not earning enough to pay for the area’s average cost of housing, food, transportation, childcare, and healthcare. One misstep can leave a family at the precipice of financial disaster.
A single mom struggles to choose between paying her rent or the overdue electric bill. A senior’s Social Security check runs out before the end of the month and is in need of food. A young man needs mental health counseling but has no insurance. A family needs gas to get to Salt Lake City for specialist care for their daughter. In all of these situations, help is needed. But knowing what resources are available, and where to find them, often remains a conundrum. This is why the Community Resource Center of Teton Valley (CRCTV) exists.
At the Community Resource Center, we work one-on-one with individuals through case management. We assist clients with prioritizing their needs and setting reasonable goals. We often assist with finding employment, setting up a budget, and other tasks to provide stability. We provide referral and application assistance for other local, regional, state, and federal programs. Since inception, we have provided intensive case management services for 208 clients and assisted hundreds of other clients with one-time assistance and/or referrals.
We offer a number of in-house programs including our Housing Security Deposit Program, where qualified families or individuals can have their security deposit paid up front by the CRCTV, allowing them to more quickly access available housing and pay back the funding over time. Our Quality of Life Financial Assistance program can provide funds for basic needs such as rent, medicines, utilities, and gas that are not often covered through other programs. Through our Food Rescue Program,foods that would otherwise go to the landfill (just expired, slightly bruised) are donated by local stores and restaurants and delivered to area organizations to be utilized by anyone in need. To date, we have saved over 100,000 pounds of food, with an approximate retail value of $250,000.
Providing assistance with basic needs and connection to resources is helpful not only for clients, but also for the community as a whole. In paying for a tank of gas to allow a client to make it to work, we are saving an employer from productivity loss. By covering half of a tenant’s rent after a job loss, we are keeping children safely housed and saving a landlord from financial loss. Through case management, we are able to follow the client’s progress and fill in small gaps as needed, allowing clients to gain stability and control of their lives and become a contributing member of the community.
So, why does the Tin Cup Challenge matter to the Community Resource Center of Teton Valley? Support through Tin Cup is vital to our organization and allows us to continue to impact the lives of Teton Valley residents. In fact, over half of our operating expenses are garnered through the Tin Cup Challenge. These funds enable us to continue to offer hope, guidance, and connection through our free, individualized services to those in need.