Report on public perceptions of Coalition for the Homeless
At the Coalition, we gather from the regular monetary and in-kind donations, faithful volunteers, and supportive community members that the community thinks we are doing a good job of returning homeless men, women and families back to self-sufficiency. However, we are delighted when someone else is able to statistically confirm our hunch.
Researchers from the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Institute for Social and Behavioral Sciences, under the direction of Dr. James D. Wright, recently released a study that gauged the region’s ideas about the local homeless population, as well as their perception of Coalition for the Homeless. The study is titled “Public Perceptions of the Homeless and the Agencies that Serve Them” and gives our agency invaluable insight into what the community thinks about the issue of homelessness in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. To find out what the community is saying about the issue of homelessness in our area, check out our earlier blog post. Today, we want to focus on what our community is saying about Coalition for the Homeless by highlighting interesting tidbits from the study:
• Three quarters of those surveyed had heard of the Coalition, and of those who had, the overall impression (74%) of the Coalition was either entirely positive or mostly positive. Twenty-three percent were neutral, and any degree of negativity was expressed by only 3%.
• About a third (36%) of respondents said they had donated money to the Coalition and one in six (17%) had volunteered there.
• Contrary to expectation, personally knowing someone who is or was homeless has no apparent effect on awareness or volunteering. However, personal knowledge has a small and marginally significant effect on giving: 41% of those who have personal knowledge of a homeless person have donated to the Coalition versus 32% of those who do not.
• The study asked, “To the best of your knowledge, what does the Coalition do?” Four answers plus “other” were offered. In rank order, the responses were: Helps families (82%), helps women (79%), feeds and shelters homeless men (74%), and offers education and job skills training (46%). On the whole, the “other” responses represented a fairly accurate depiction of what the Coalition does. The researchers claimed that this shows the Coalition’s multi-year campaign to raise awareness of “the changing face of homelessness in our community” has been successful at least to the point of convincing very large majorities that women, children and families, not just homeless men, benefit from the services we offer.
We are thankful that our community not only knows who we are, but also has an idea of what we do. Beyond that, we are humbled that so many of the respondents to this survey have given of their time or resources to our agency. This shows they believe in the work we are doing and want to be in on the action. If you would like to learn more about the Coalition, our services, and how you can get involved, visit our website today. We would love to plug you in!