To the Whatever It Takes community,
This year, BACS provided services to 14,699 neighbors experiencing behavioral health challenges, housing insecurity and/or homelessness, and other complex needs. As an historical agency celebrating our 68th anniversary, it is our founding commitment to do “whatever it takes” to meet the needs of our community. This Annual Report, and our work every single day, is dedicated to the people we serve. Our ethos runs deep. We do not give up on people, no matter their need or trauma. The story of this year is perseverance through hardship, and collaboration creating change.
This was a year of profound struggle; and yet, the BACS Community – all of you reading this report – stepped up to the plate.
- A movement of public, private, corporate, and individual donors who contributed their own resources to reclaim homes for community benefit and create affordable housing for unhoused neighbors.
- Hundreds of team members who kept up with changing CDC recommendations to keep the people we serve safe, without skipping a beat to wrap around each individual to help meet their unique housing, behavioral health, and community needs.
- Volunteers of all ages who made Homes in a Basket, assembled hygiene kits, sewed masks, and delivered meals to our “housing fast” sites.
- Our board of directors who volunteered their governance and time to keep our agency strong, prepared, and ready to respond to the next crisis.
- Advocates who made their voices heard to help get BACS into their neighborhoods, meet an emerging need, and reach people who need the most support.
- Partners being served by one or more of our 46 programs, who engaged with our team to meet their unique needs, achieved personal goals of housing, wellness, and employment, and who are determined to achieve stability with the help of our community.
Of most importance to report – BACS did not shutter during COVID. We stayed on the streets, in our offices and crisis centers, and in the community. The people we serve cannot “remote in” to get the help they need. So I, and our 420 team members, came to work every day. We showed up.
Our participants often do not have an address, or transportation, or even a cell phone to connect, so we need to be where they are, or ready to find them, so we can help them get their basic needs met; whether it is signing up to benefits; buying a meal or pair of shoes; or paying for rent to get them off of the streets and under a safe roof.
You will read in the following report our unparalleled progress towards ending houselessness; supporting those with the direst needs; towards our vision of a world where all of us can walk down the street and do not see a fellow neighbor – community member – living outside.
I am asked every day – do people want to live outside? Do they want to be homeless? My resounding answer is no! Would you want to ever live outside? I am convinced, if you are reading this, your answer is no. And I ask you to see yourself in your unhoused neighbors. Because all of them can say, “I never thought it would happen to me.”
Think about what would happen if you lost your resources. A medical emergency that insurance does not cover; losing a loved one; losing a job. Your friends and family would help. But if you couldn’t get on your feet, one day you will have overstayed your welcome at the last person’s home. That is what happens to our unhoused neighbors.
Then imagine if you had to survive on the streets. How do you protect yourself and your things? When do you sleep? Where do you shower? Who do you trust? Consider what your days and nights would look like, and then you will understand the effects of trauma.
We are united in the pursuit of true justice and meaningful change. And still, we have to break the stigma. I urge you to think about why the majority of people living outside are our community of members who have been discriminated against generationally. Those who have had their families and communities pillaged over time.
And then imagine what you could do to make a difference. My report to you is for a call to action as you review our Annual Report for last fiscal year. Every day, thousands of people are going above and beyond to support BACS, and help us fill the cracks in our social safety net.
Please, tell your friends, family, neighbors, boss. Tell them about BACS if they need help – and tell them about BACS if they can help.