- South Carolina
The Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together (IMPACT) Organization, is a constituent-led, grassroots initiative that brings together Charlottesville’s diverse faith community to address the root causes of serious community problems. IMPACT is not a direct service organization, meaning we do not provide services such as food or shelter to those in need. Rather, we are a direct action organization, committed to empowering local leaders to identify problems and develop solutions to address systemic problems at their source.
Since 2006, IMPACT has won a number of significant, sustainable improvements in public transportation, creating and sustaining affordable housing efforts, revitalizing low-income neighborhoods, reducing the academic achievement gap, and ensuring access to dental care for low-income and uninsured populations – all achieved through our direct action meetings each spring that bring together over 1,500 community members.
“We don’t want to sit around talking about problems, we need them to be resolved.”
- Father Dennis McAuliffe / Holy Comforter Catholic Church -
- Problem: People who relied on public transit could not get to work on Sundays or evenings; that people had to cross dangerous intersections like the I-64 interchange to be able to go grocery shopping; people were having to spend as much as $40 on taxis to get access social services because no bus line served the county government office;
- Solutions: Sunday bus service on the two most heavily traveled routes, night service on route 5, and creation of a new bus route to serve the county office building and low-income neighborhoods.
- Results: Not only can more people get to work and go shopping, but ridership has increased by as much as 75% on these routes.
DENTAL HEALTH (2008):
- Problem: There was a wait list over 1,000 names long for the uninsured to receive dental care; and that many uninsured dental cases were being seen in emergency rooms because they could not access primary dental care
- Solution: Creation of a Free Dental Clinic.
- Results: Since late 2009, the clinic has served over 6,000 uninsured patients and the wait list to receive dental care has been reduced by over two-thirds.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING (2007, 2008, & 2009):
- Problem: Far too many low- and middle-income individuals in the community are rent-burdened, meaning they pay at least 30% of income for housing, with some paying as much as 50% or more in income; there is also a 4,000 unit shortage of rental housing in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area
- Solutions: $6.75 million has been invested by the Charlottesville City Council into an affordable housing trust fund. The County has spent over $1 million to build or refurbish affordable units.
- Results: The City has built or preserved more than 274 units of affordable housing to date and in April broke ground on Charlottesville’s first mixed-income development. Since 2007, Albemarle County has built or refurbished 350 total units of affordable housing.
Pre-K EDUCATION (2009 & 2010):
- Problem: There is a clear academic achievement gap for low-income children. We learned that access to pre-K education significantly minimizes this achievement gap and helps ensure that all children receive a quality education that enables them to succeed beyond high school.
- Solutions: Increased enrollment and classroom expansion for low-income preschoolers.
- Results: Between 90 and 100% of enrolled children in three- and four-year-old classrooms are low-income. Significant achievement gap decreases, with as many as 100% of students passing 3rd grade PALS standardized tests. The City and County will continue to collaboratively expand to have 20+ pre-K classrooms and to increase enrollment to all children.
INTERPRETIVE SERVICES/LANGUAGE ACCESS (2010):
- Problem: There is a lack of availability of consistent quality language access services for individuals with limited-English proficiency (LEP). Many LEP individuals–including immigrants and refugees–have difficulties when interacting with law enforcement officials.
- Solution: The Regional Jail and both City and County Police Departments agreed to develop and implement LEP plans for their departments.
- Results: The City of Charlottesville Police Department has completed their LEP plan by training 100% of their officers in the proper protocol when addressing non-English speaking peoples. The Regional Jail now offers ESL to inmates and has identified documents to be translated to Spanish.
MENTAL HEALTH (2011):
- Problem: Ex-offenders with mental illness did not receive medication or therapy upon release from the jail or prison. No agency was equipped to provide treatment to this population, so many ex-offenders’ conditions would result in homelessness, a stay in the emergency room, or admission back into prison.
- Solution: Sustained City and County funding for Healthy Transitions, a psychiatric re-entry program between the local mental health community services board and the Probation and Parole office.
- Future results: This program will prevent ex-offenders’ psychiatric destabilization, reducing both the crime and recidivism rates. Healthy Transitions will streamline re-entry from detention centers to ensure that mentally-ill ex-offenders receive the treatment they need so that they go on to be successful in the community.
Currently, IMPACT has 26 member congregations that join together to work on the root causes of serious community problems. We represent over 15,000 people in the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the surrounding counties. IMPACT is a diverse organization that unites the community across socioeconomic, racial, geographic, and denominational backgrounds, including Protestant, Roman Catholic, Unitarian Universalist, Quaker, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions.
100 Alderman Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903