Working together is how we will address the community’s pressing needs. We are seeing more people with increased financial stress, unemployment, housing instability, and mental health concerns. Financial assistance requests that previously ranged from $500 to $1,500, now range from $3,000 to $10,000. The demand for food services remains steady. The length of stays at our domestic and sexual violence shelters significantly increased to an average of 75 days due to lack of available housing beyond emergency shelter. We are witnessing the compounding effects of inequality among students and families in our school-based work.
Distance learning, job insecurity, financial stress, and unreliable internet access have increased isolation and further marginalized diverse communities. Our work supporting early learning with child care providers remains steady, while those businesses deal with added safety protocols and keeping their businesses afloat. Face-to-face interactions decreased with COVID-19. This change forced us to find creative ways to uncover root causes across our services.
Donors and volunteers make a difference
After a harrowing fiscal start to 2020, we are grateful that funding ended the year exceeding projections. We maintained current programming while expenses increased. Demand for food increased 28%, technology expenses rose to support remote work, more cleaning and safety costs were necessary, and additional staff time was required to offset a decrease in our volunteer workforce due to COVID. Many new donors chose to make a difference through 360 Communities, and monthly giving increased.
Although not all volunteer positions are open due to COVID-19 restrictions, 360 Communities relies heavily on volunteers. 360 Communities practices strict COVID-19 protocols, and people have found volunteering at 360 Communities a safe and inspiring way to stay positive and hopeful. Staff have risen to the new challenges being faced and have grown even stronger as a team.
360 Communities remains focused on equity, inclusion, and diversity work to improve our impact. We said goodbye to a few board members who completed their full terms and welcomed new talent. We strive to reflect the diversity of the community in our board of directors.