David Freseman: What’s next for LIFT-UP?
Q. LIFT-UP of Routt County faces the predicament of losing the lease on several of the commercial/office spaces it occupies. Would it be an exaggeration to say the future of the organization is at risk?
A. It definitely would be an exaggeration to say that this challenge puts the future of LIFT-UP at risk.
The organization is very adaptable and resilient.
We are hoping that things will fall into place in such a way that we not only meet this challenge, but that LIFT-UP also can use this as an opportunity to meet a long-range goal enabling us to house all of our programs under one roof with a sense of permanence.
Q. What are some of the challenges for a nonprofit looking for commercial space in a resort town?
A. The obvious primary challenge is finding functional real estate that is reasonable enough financially for a nonprofit to afford. It is the “affordable housing” issue on an organizational level.
An additional challenge in a relatively small resort town is even the availability of appropriate property.
Q. Is it possible to generalize about LIFT-UP’s clients? What kinds of situations are the people being served in?
A. If one were to generalize about LIFT-UP’s clients, it would be that we serve the “working poor” of Routt County.
There are clients of every sort, including some who are unemployed, disabled, et cetera.
But the vast majority is families with children, single parents or single people who work at least seasonally but live paycheck to paycheck. It is difficult for them to make ends meet with the high cost of living in the resort area. If anything out of the ordinary happens — such as a medical leave or layoff, for example — they need a lift over the temporary crisis.
Q. What do you feel are a couple of LIFT-UP’s greatest accomplishments? What are its most significant contributions to the community?
A. One thing I think is an important accomplishment is that LIFT-UP serves people in need of emergency assistance on a countywide basis.
We serve a critical need by helping people that may not quite meet eligibility requirements at the Department of Human Services, but are still in dire need.
LIFT-UP often makes the difference in helping many members of our resort community workforce keep a roof over their heads, keep their heat or water from being turned off, meet an emergency dental need, have affordable clothing or enough to eat.
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