The YWCA Greensboro Emergency Family Shelter offers housing, food, case management, and support for families experiencing homelessness.
“We house men and women with children,” said Tiffany Dumas, the family shelter director. “Families can stay here 30, 60, or 90 days. Each family’s progress looks a little bit different, but the ultimate goal is to help them transition into permanent supportive housing.”
The shelter can house up to seven families or 20-30 individuals. Families may need help with child care, mental health, or other needs, so Dumas says the shelter works closely with other agencies and organizations to support them.
Twice-monthly community meetings with families and shelter family advocate staff keep the lines of communication open. “It’s a place where families have a voice,” Dumas said. “It’s a place where we can talk together about programs, activities, needs, and resources.”
Dumas credited Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) and its Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) training with helping shelter staff view their program through a new lens. The organization was part of Ready Ready’s second CQI cohort that wrapped up its nine-month sessions in March 2023. “It was so informative to hear from other agencies as we went through the CQI modules,” she said.
Dumas describes an “aha” moment around how CQI could help the shelter measure client satisfaction on issues from cleanliness to programming to family resources. “It’s all about improvement. It’s all about expectations,” she said. “Our staff understands that survey answers aren’t punitive, and families understand that their honest answers aren’t a barrier to their stay.”
The survey asks clients to rate areas such as the cleanliness of their room at arrival, the overall experience at entry, the intake and orientation process, meals, safety, family activities, and other resources. Dumas said their answers help staff address issues, identify needs, and gain insight into ways to improve. Importantly, the survey also highlights areas of excellence.
“I’m able to tell our CEO and board of directors where we are ranked highly and offer ideas about how we can prioritize new ideas the survey reveals,” Dumas said. “It really is imperative. I feel like every organization should do CQI.”