Bridges to Independence

Learn. Lead. Work. Thrive.

Arlington, VA   |  https://bridges2.org/

Mission

Bridges to Independence leads individuals and families out of homelessness and into stable, independent futures.

Ruling year info

1988

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Samuel L. Kelly Jr.

Main address

46 S. Glebe Road Suite 201

Arlington, VA 22204 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless

EIN

54-1368484

NTEE code info

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Temporary Shelter For the Homeless (L41)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Despite our region's affluence, there are tens of thousands of individuals living in poverty, with thousands becoming homeless each year. According to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the 2018 “point-in-time" count recorded 10,480 persons experiencing homelessness in the D.C. Metro area. When a crisis causes people to become homeless, they turn to Bridges to Independence for the supportive services they need to build a better future. They are not seeking hand-outs, they are looking for a lift up.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Sullivan House Emergency Shelter

Emergency shelter is a temporary and last resort option available for those with little to no resources. Participants come to Sullivan House after experiencing a major housing crisis that has resulted in an eviction. Sullivan House is the largest emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness in Arlington County. The shelter, with ten one- and two-bedroom apartments, can accommodate up to approximately 14 families at a time. The median length of stay in Sullivan House is 3 months.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

Bridges to Independence provides rapid re-housing to individuals and families in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. The goal is to move individuals and families into safe, affordable, and permanent housing as quickly as possible. Our services include housing identification, connection to mainstream resources, financial assistance, and community-based case management. Through partnerships with landlords in the community, families are able to secure and maintain a lease in their own names, which assists them in establishing a foundation for good credit.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Bridge’s to Independence Youth Development program is dedicated to breaking the generational cycle of poverty and homelessness through initiatives that support families as a whole. Our objectives include
1.) Assist students to increase their view and ability to perform in school and social settings.
2.) Create environments that will build an internal sense of overall positive self-worth and self-efficacy.
3.) Promote students to establish positive and healthy bonds with people and institutions.
4.) Promote student participation in leadership roles and provide a sense of independence.

Population(s) Served
Non-adult children
Children and youth

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce 2021

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, People of Middle Eastern descent, Families, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Total number of individuals served by Bridges in that fiscal year

Number of youth who plan to attend post-secondary education

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, People of African descent, At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Immigrants

Related Program

Youth Development

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

In 2018, we had two seniors and they both went on to post-secondary school. In 2019, we had six seniors that all graduated high school and continued to university and three even received scholarship!

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Bridges to Independence's mission is to lead individuals and families out of homelessness and into stable, independent futures. In order to achieve our mission, Bridges is working to achieve the following goals:

• To provide emergency shelter to individuals and families experiencing a major housing crisis, taking a multigenerational approach to serve all members of the family.

• To rapidly re-house individuals and families experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. Concurrently to provide community-based case management and supportive services to ensure participants are able to maintain housing upon program completion.

• To expand child and youth programming to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, providing opportunities for youth to increase self-esteem, leadership abilities, and overall health/well-being.

• To give students the confidence, skills, and tools needed to pursue and complete post-secondary education or vocational training, providing them with a pathway to economic security.

• To empower participants to take charge of their financial futures by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and motivation needed to make financially sound decisions, meet financial obligations, and start saving.

• To create new approaches to employment services, helping individuals and families achieve economic security while encouraging client self-sufficiency through increased wages and job retention.

• To reduce major barriers to employment by providing services such as transportation, child care assistance, job training, and skills development.

• To offer ongoing support and programming to former clients to maintain stability.

Bridges to Independence's core programs and services are as follows:

Emergency Shelter: Emergency shelter is a temporary and last resort option for those with little or no resources. Participants come to Bridges to Independence's Sullivan House emergency shelter after experiencing a major housing crisis that has resulted in an eviction. Sullivan House is the largest emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness in Arlington County. The shelter, with ten one- and two-bedroom apartments, can accommodate up to 14 families at a time. The median length of stay is 3 months.

Rapid Re-Housing: Along with emergency shelter, Bridges to Independence provides rapid re-housing to individuals and families in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. Homelessness should be rare, brief, and non-reoccurring. The goal is to move individuals and families into safe, affordable, and permanent housing as quickly as possible. Concurrently, Bridges provides community-based services to ensure participants are able to maintain housing upon program completion. Our services include housing identification, connection to mainstream resources, financial assistance, and community-based case management. Through our close partnerships with landlords in the community, families are able to secure and maintain a lease in their own names, which assists them in establishing a foundation for good credit.

Employment Services: Our Bridge to Work program promotes the self-sufficiency of our clients through employment and increased wages. The program provides group training and one-on-one mentorship, and brings together the skills, knowledge, and community networks needed for clients to become and remain independent. Bridge to Work blends the “basics" (resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, etc.) with soft skills development (teamwork, workplace communication, conflict resolution, and more). At the same time, the program further enhances Bridges' continuum of aid and support for those we serve by reducing major barriers to employment (such as transportation and child care assistance) and helping them find, secure, and retain stable employment.

Financial Literacy: Many of our participants are unemployed or underemployed, carry large amounts of debt and have poor credit. Bridges works with our families to raise their financial consciousness and help them make healthy financial decisions. We partner with Wells Fargo to host workshops for our shelter guests and the Virginia Cooperative Extension to offer intensive financial planning and management training to our Rapid Re-Housing participants.

Youth Development: Youth who are currently at-risk for or experiencing homelessness are exposed to more risk factors, including trauma, poor physical/mental health, stress, developmental delays, and missed educational opportunities. At Bridges, we surround youth with positive, enriching experiences that can build trust, confidence, and respect for self and others.

Founded in 1985, Bridges to Independence has grown from a single shelter to an organization offering emergency shelter, rapid re-housing, and other services to over 500 individuals each year.

Bridges has an annual budget of $1.8M, a dedicated staff and an enthusiastic board of directors. Samuel L. Kelly, Jr. was with Bridges for 9 years prior to taking the helm as CEO in 2016. Our deep roots and long history in the community make Bridges a well-known and respected cornerstone of our community's efforts to fight homelessness.

As a participant in Arlington County's Continuums of Care, we are in close contact every day with local government agencies and other homeless service providers to ensure that the needs of those facing homelessness in our community are met. Our CEO also is a member of Arlington County's 10 Year Plan to Prevent and End Homeless Continuum of Care and a Co-Chair of the Integrated Services Committee.

Since our founding in 1985, Bridges to Independence's mission has been to respond to the urgent needs of the most vulnerable individuals and families in our region.

In FY2020, thanks to community support, Bridges helped 119 families, totaling 343 individuals. On average, participants are substantially engaged with us for 1.5 to 2 years.

Sullivan House, the emergency shelter, sheltered 57 families, totaling 146 individuals.
• This is a 6% increase in number of individuals served from the prior year
• 17 of the individuals were transition aged youth facing homeless (ages 18-24) with children
• Approximately 60% of the families were employed at the time they left Sullivan House
• Approximately 74% of the families maintained or increased income upon leaving the shelter
• During COVID, Bridges put safety measure in place so that there was only one family per apartment unit instead of two or more. While this decreases the number of families Bridges can serve at one time, a part-time Housing Locator ensured families moved quickly from shelter in to housing so that rooms opened up more frequently

The Rapid Re-Housing Program served 62 families, totaling 197 individuals.
• Bridges experienced an increase in demand – the need was much greater than what was budgeted and saw a 151% utilization rate
• The average length of stay in the housing program is 11 months, which is below the federal standard of 16 months, demonstrating Bridges success at moving families quickly into sustainable, longer-term situations, even during the pandemic
• Approximately 72% of families maintained employment upon completion of the program
o At the start of COVID, approximately 80% of all families (shelter and housing) almost immediately became unemployed or saw a reduction in hours. During COVID, Bridges has worked with families to obtain certifications or continue their education

Bridges’ Youth Development Program trained, supported, and empowered 134 children/youth.
• There was a 28% increase in number of youth served from the prior fiscal year
Milestones in 2017 included the following:
• Aftercare Program: We created an Aftercare Program to reduce recidivism among families exiting our Rapid Re-Housing Program.
• New Employment Program: We launched our Bridge to Work program with an annual job fair as its capstone event.
• Reserve Fund: A capital campaign and the sale of property enabled us to establish a reserve fund to support long-term growth and sustainability.

2020 Milestones include:
- Merging with Bonder & Amanda Johnson CDC
- Launching a new five-year strategic planning process
- Launching a post-merger program integration process with Compass, pro-bono consulting services

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Bridges invites feedback from those living in the shelter and hosts focus groups with those in the housing, youth, and employment program to share what their needs are.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Recently, Bridges hosted a focus group of middle schoolers to better understand their needs to explore new programming going forward that is targeted to this age group.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    As a specific example, the families in the shelter feel valued and heard in a world where they feel that often never listens to them.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Bridges to Independence
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Bridges to Independence

Board of directors
as of 3/23/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jennifer Mulchandani

Arlington Strategy

Janetta Brewer

Blue Alchemy Consulting, LLC

Bill Dunn

Harper-Dunn Group

Don Meyer

Westfourth Communications

Patrick King

Army-Navy Country Club

Evan Lacopo

Wydler Brothers Real Estate

Dina Land

Association Excellence LLC

Katie Stewart

Cigna Healthcare

Brian O'Neill

Deep Mile Consulting

Jennifer Mulchandani

Arlington Strategy

Michael Sauri

Scott Milam

Afton Partners LLC

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/23/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/23/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.