A 20 percent increase in crisis housing demand and an additional 5,000 meals served highlighted the release of service numbers by the crisis services division of Community Missions of Niagara Frontier Inc. on Friday. The agency provided 75,980 meals and 10,986 nights of shelter in 2013, the latter being the highest total in the agency's 88 years of service to Niagara County.
The crisis services division, comprising the community soup kitchen, emergency housing shelter, food pantry, clothes closet, Mark's Place and parole re-entry programs, saw increases in nearly each program offered in 2013.
Community Missions is the largest private provider of basic human needs within Niagara County.
"We have seen a steady rise over the years in our crisis housing services, but a 20 percent increase over one year is quite substantial," said Grant Babcock, director of crisis services at CMI. "We cannot pin the increase on one particular factor, as we saw increases in each aspect of our crisis housing services."
The division's 2013 total of 10,986 nights of shelter was up from the 9,166 provided in 2012. These totals include nights provided through the agency's emergency housing shelter, parole re-entry and Mark's Place programs.
Within the emergency housing shelter, the largest increase came among children ages 12 and under, as the total of 1,315 nights represented a 23 percent increase over 2012. Parole re-entry saw a 29 percent increase, while Mark's Place, a program providing residence to those living with HIV/AIDS, increased from 22 nights of service in 2012 to 285 nights last year.
Within its food service programs, CMI provided a total of 75,980 meals, as compared to 70,961 in 2012, representing a 7 percent jump. The majority of the increase came within the food pantry program, which provided an additional 4,788 meals, or a 20 percent hike.
CMI also saw a substantial rise in the numbers of volunteers serving the agency in 2013. An additional 2,990 service hours were recorded in 2013, representing a 34 percent increase over the previous year.
A majority of the funds necessary to operate the crisis services division come directly from individual and corporate donations, grant support from foundations, and fundraising events.
Those interested in learning more about the agency, or donating to its mission, are encouraged to visit www.CommunityMissions.org, or call 716-285-3403.
About Community Missions
In 2013, CMI provided more than 75,000 meals and nearly 11,000 nights of care within its crisis services programs. Additional agency programs serve adults and youth with psychiatric disabilities, parolees, at-risk youth and other underserved populations in both residential and recovery-oriented settings.
For more information on the services and programs provided by Community Missions, visit www.communitymissions.org or connect via Facebook or Twitter.