Emergency Assistance Policies & ProceduresLast Updated: August 3, 2016 Contact: Katie Chow
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.WHO WE ARE
- Why We Exist
- Core Convictions
2. WHO WE SERVE
- Veritas Church Body
3. HOW WE SERVE
- Emergency Assistance Team
- General Emergency Assistance Procedure
- Financial Assistance Guidelines
- Assistance Cap
- Financial Coaching
- Record Keeping
WHO WE ARE
Why We Exist
The mission of Veritas’ Emergency Assistance ministry operates within and seeks to achieve the mission of Veritas Mercy, and further more the mission of Veritas Community Church.
Veritas Mercy’s Mission: We exist to transform our city with the Gospel by equipping Veritas as servants of mercy and reconciliation.
Our mission in offering emergency assistance is to point people to Christ by connecting those in need with the appropriate financial, emotional, and physical resources.
We assess needs and work to find solutions for chronic and crisis situations. We provide financial assistance only when it’s a true emergency.
Vision | Our aim is to grow as a gospel-centered community of humble servants, building bridges in our neighborhoods for the sake of restoration and reconciliation.
Biblical Definition of Poverty
How we respond to poverty will be informed by our understanding of it’s causes. If we think the cause of poverty is a lack of knowledge, we will educate. If we think it is a lack of resources, we will give things. However, if we see that poverty is the result of broken relationships, we should seek to reconcile these broken relationships. We were made to be in relationship with our Creator, His creation (society), our self, and others. Poverty is a result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not harmonious or enjoyable.
Poverty Alleviation: If poverty is rooted in broken relationships, then our response to poverty must be building relationships with the goal to reconcile relationships.
Gospel-Centered Mercy Work
Our commitment to the gospel is our primary motivation to minister to those in need. As we grasp the immensity of grace freely given to us by Christ’s death on the cross, we are compelled to be active participants in God’s grand narrative of redemption by being His hands and feet. We focus on people more than programs, and processes more than products.
We believe that God has blessed every person with gifts and resources that should be used to glorify Him. Rather than focus on what’s lacking in a person’s life, we will focus on goals and solutions. This affirms people’s dignity and creates an environment of growth rather than dependency. It fights against the “us/them” mentality.
WHO WE SERVE
Veritas Community Church’s Body (Internal)
Our first priority is the Veritas members and church body. This includes regular attendees and those who we have partnered with in the past. Ordinarily, the stronger one’s association with the church, the stronger our commitment to see that their particular need is met.
Geographic Neighbors (External)
We aim to use the resources God has given us to extend mercy and point individuals to the love of Christ. Emergency assistance to non-members is likely to be asset-based assistance (looking at the whole picture and what they can bring to the table), rather than strictly financial assistance.
Neighbors are defined as those placed within Veritas’ path, regardless of geographic location. However, most often, those who we define as ‘neighbors’ will be in close proximity to the building location of a Veritas congregation.
Ultimately, Veritas exists to love the whole city of Columbus (and the whole world). Our emergency assistance will extend to the far corners of our city when funding/opportunity allows. Emergency assistance is done on a case-by-case basis and is never pre-determined before meeting with a Mercy Deacon.
HOW WE SERVE
Emergency Assistance Team
The Emergency Assistance process is led by the Lead Mercy Deacon at your Veritas congregation. The Lead Mercy Deacon may be a full-time staff, support staff, or volunteer. There may be a support team of Mercy Deacons to which cases may be referred, but final decisions should be cleared by the Lead Mercy Deacon.
General Emergency Assistance Procedure
Listed below is a typical procedure and script for emergency assistance. Each situation is different and requires discernment. When any person approaches a Mercy Deacon for assistance they will follow a typical procedure.
- Pray, welcome, set at ease, and inform them how the meeting will go
- Remind them that God is the provider of all that we need
- Discuss the purpose of Veritas’ Mercy and our approach to emergency assistance
- Interview in such a way that the Mercy Deacon can get a better understanding of the situation behind the need presented. Determine the following:
- Is the situation internal or external?
- Is the situation a crisis problem or a chronic problem?
- What is the best way to help this person? What is the underlying long-term problem?
- If it’s a chronic problem:
- Are they interested in filling out a Plan of Action and getting matched with an Advocate?
- Are there city-wide resources that you can refer them to immediately?
- If it’s a crisis:
- Is this a true crisis that needs financial assistance?
- What kind of follow-up is needed?
5. Inform them that despite their desire for finding immediate resolution for a particular need, our highest priority will be to uncover the root of the problem and try to determine the best long-term solution. This could include spiritual or financial counseling, ongoing accountability (Advocates), job searching, etc.
6. Inform them that due to church procedures they should not expect to receive monetary assistance the day of their request.
7. Connect them with the rhythms at Veritas by inviting them to a Community Group, inviting them to attend our Sunday gathering, and/or participate in other events.
8. Regarding financial decisions, final assistance needs to be cleared with Geoff.
9. Next Steps Reviewed:
- What are the next steps?
- Has contact information been written down?
Financial Assistance Guidelines
- The individual has a relationship with Veritas (taken into account, but not the sole factor determining whether we financially assist)
- The individual has a demonstrated need
- The individual is unable to earn sufficient funds to support all their needs
- The individual does not have family resources that are available or sufficient
- The individual has exhausted their own personal resources
- The individual has demonstrated that they can make thoughtful decisions about his/her resources. If not, financial coaching should be offered as a mandate alongside financial assistance.
- Financial assistance will never be given in the form of cash; but only through checks written to meet a specific need. Undesignated funds will never be given.
Policies for Determining if Financial Assistance Should be Given
If financial assistance is deemed appropriate, the Mercy Deacon will follow the following procedure:
- Review situation with the Director of VeritasMercy and confirm next steps.
- Send the financial amount/needed information to the Director of Operations with a request for the check(s) to be cut.
- Confirm with the Director of Operations that this amount of financial assistance is feasible within the Veritas Mercy budget.
- Immediately follow up with the individual in need with your next steps.
Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. We have not set an official cap yet on total financial assistance per unit. Any financial assistance may be capped on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Operations, who is familiar with the current state of the church budget.
We have not officially set up a Financial Coaching program yet, but it is within our vision to do so. Ideally, we will have 5-10 trained Financial Coaches ready to go. When any individual receives financial assistance (except when the Mercy Deacon determines otherwise), they will commit to meet with a financial coach as determined.
All applications and Plan of Actions will be kept on file by the Lead Mercy Deacon. All records of financial assistance will be kept and tracked by the Director of Operations.