Building Success Through Technology

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Florida Resurrection House, Inc.
City & State:
Saint Petersburg, 
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of Florida Resurrection House, Inc. is to provide a community, faith-based, transitional housing and self-sufficiency program for motivated families with minor children who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

For over 21 years, Florida Resurrection House, Inc. has served Tampa Bay working-poor and homeless families with minor children. Our long-term, transitional housing program provides many services to assist families to become self-sufficient, including:

· education/skills training

· budgeting/saving/debt reduction

· case management/counseling

· life skill classes

The goal is a living wage, not minimum wage, and freedom from all government support.

Consistently our success rate averages 80%. The documentation supporting this was contained in several decades of data and hundreds of files which included handwritten notes and misplaced paperwork. We decided an evaluation tool that could document and organize all client data and also measure the data and compile reports was critical to continued success. We wanted a vehicle to move into deeper layers of this information and more fully understand what really works.

We needed to do this as inexpensively as possible, in house, with capable staff who just needed the tools to accomplish it. We decided Microsoft Office applications would provide everything needed to succeed and through TechSoup purchased at a price we could afford.

Using Microsoft Access, Outlook, and InfoPath, we designed and created our Improvement Progression Survey (IPS) program, organizing all client data into one centralized desktop system. The purpose of IPS is to:

· track client progress from initial contact through post program completion

· use the power Access statistical formulas to measure qualitative and quantitative data

· track budgets that can be submitted electronically

· create a 360 degree evaluation through client survey of the program

Clients in programs like ours can be defensive and "become forgetful" when case managers address problem areas of their progress. Through the IPS, we are able to alleviate the "drama" that can occur in case management and give clients the power to track and take greater control of their own progress toward success.

The IPS Access database draws on measured performance including excellence. All personal and historical information is recorded at onset. As clients progress through their programs, dozens of benchmarks are tracked, rated, and reviewed according to a predetermined and agreed upon scale. Participants know the expectations and the IPS data provides feedback both for them and staff, serving as a powerful tool for accountability and improvement.

The IPS has surpassed our objectives as it provides a clear understanding that helps staff provide the best delivery of program services. It allows us to assess program effectiveness by measuring the impact of each area of service. Areas where clients consistently struggle are opportunities to improve ways of delivering services to ensure each family succeeds.

For example, an adult participant enters the program. There is paperwork to complete, case management meetings, life skill classes, working and/or going to school, apartment inspections as well as many other components. All of this is broken down into simple steps leading toward ultimate goals. Budgets are prepared weekly. Saving begins immediately and is tracked as well as expenditures. With a baseline, everything can be measured. Were meetings attended on time? Are grades improving and is tutoring needed? Are savings increasing and is debt being reduced?

Through the IPS we are able to evaluate “overlap.” For example, we can determine if missed meetings are due to changed bus schedules, car breakdowns, and/or reduced savings because of unexpected expenses. All program components are lessons for “real life” and have a purpose—to teach over time all the skills to ensure families are fully equipped and prepared to be successful, tax-paying members of society. Also, we want to ensure the cycle stops with the adults and that their children are a new generation unlikely to experience the poverty and despair that was their parents’ experience.

Now Resurrection House is able to demonstrate its 80% success rate with a level of integrity that brings us tremendous satisfaction. This is accomplished with four fulltime and one part time staff. Microsoft technology, through the IPS program, is helping us refine program delivery to each client, with positive results. We can generate reports that provide data to facilitate problem solving and establish clear expectations. We expect it to increase the number of clients able to complete the program (improving outcomes) as well as provide a way to clearly discuss areas in need of improvement and recognize areas of achievement. As a bonus, Microsoft applications are user friendly and easy to master by new staff and volunteers.

This offers a valuable componant for more successful fundraising as it provides credible data. It also is useful for advocacy, policy research, and reporting. Ultimately, everyone is gaining something in our community and we are very proud of this.

We see Resurrection House as the “Little Engine That Could” and did! We have a beautiful campus, small number of staff, and very tight budget. However, we have not found another program similar to ours transforming lives with the same degree of success. We can state with gratitude and with great assurance that Microsoft technology has a part in this success and expect it to continue to be so into the future.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Project Image
IPS switchboard.JPG
Supporting Work Files