Current Questions & Answers regarding TRM Ministries Operations.
Thank you for the incredible outpouring of love, words of encouragement and prayers. We are honored to partner with you and hope to continue to serve our community together with you for years to come.
We will be updating this document as new questions arise.
To view the answers, click on a question below.
In this ever-changing world of Covid-19, TRM continues to review, revise and reframe how to provide the safest possible services and reduce the risk of Covid-19 within TRM’s Shelters and services. Safety for our guests, staff and volunteers remains our top priority. With that priority as our focus, leadership has worked diligently to restructure both organizational structure and programming. Highlights of these changes are:
1. Quarantine and Isolation- We have established areas within the main shelter for both quarantine and isolation. The quarantine rooms will be utilized for any guests self-identifying that they have possibly been exposed to someone who is symptomatic or for those coming to the shelter from identified geographic “hot spots”. Guests placed in quarantine will remain there for 14 days or until they exhibit identified symptoms. The isolation rooms will be used in case we have current guests who are symptomatic for Covid-19 including a fever of 100.4 or greater plus a cough or shortness of breath. Staff will consult with SNCO Health Department to determine the need to transport guests exhibiting symptoms to the appropriate medical facility.
2. Security and Screening- We have changed how we interface with those seeking to shelter with us. One significant change is that entry doors to all shelters will be locked at all times. Potential guests will be pre-screened to determine eligibility and Covid-19 risk prior to entering the buildings. All guests will be screened at the Main Shelter. Temperatures will be taken, and questions asked to determine if those seeking shelter are either symptomatic or at risk for having been exposed. Screening positive will not necessarily exclude someone from receiving shelter but will help us to place them in the most appropriate living situation to keep them and other as safe as possible.
3. Priority Sheltering- In addition to the above described screening methods, for the first time in TRM history, we will give priority to those coming from the 5-county MSA including:
All other potential guests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Our goal is to decrease the likelihood of have people who enter our facilities from geographic “hot spots”. This was not a decision that came easily. It has always been our desire to serve all who come to our doors seeking help, yet in this critical time and considering our top priority of safety for guests, staff and volunteers it is the soundest decision.
4. Food Distribution- As previously announced, we continue to limit in-house meals to our guests while continuing to provide sack meals that include items for supper and breakfast to those from the community at large. We are also continuing to supply food boxes to the community every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
5. Resource Needs- As with any changes, there are costs we will incur in order to carry out the level of safety and service needed to protect everyone involved. Examples of this include:
a. In order to provide the areas for quarantine and isolation, we will need to add staff in order to effectively monitor and provide service to those within those areas.
b. Structural changes are required to bring our facilities into a position to accommodate both our regular guests as well as those needing quarantine or isolation.
c. In order to effectively lock down our facilities, security upgrades have been installed including locks and cameras.
A: Some of you are asking how TRM arrived in this position of financial shortfall in 2019 and why we didn’t share it sooner. This situation didn’t happen overnight. TRM has been responding to community poverty needs beyond homeless services over the past decade. Neighborhood stabilization initiatives, youth initiatives, human trafficking interventions, ministry to homeless children who have experienced significant trauma, etc. At the same time homeless populations have continued to grow locally and nationally with a multitude of issues that accompany them - mental illness, drug addiction, brain trauma, serious medical complications, education and job experience deficits, etc. All these things plus a decrease in in-kind and financial donations brought TRM to a critical need for financial support.
A: In brief TRM took a calculated risk as to the best time for making an appeal to the community. Historically the TRM donor base has been able to help bring stabilization to financial shortages. This time that approach didn’t work. Having not been in this position for the past 33 years, we took a calculated risk of waiting until we had no other option but to broadly approach the community for support. This was a risk, however we believe going to the community too early, prior to having no other options, would also have been a risk.
Throughout 2019, TRM began instituting cost saving measures in an effort to allow time for income we historically have received to come in. We froze hiring for nonessential positions, renegotiated
A: We believe TRM has demonstrated financial sustainability for more than three decades by engaging a compassionate community with the issues of homelessness, hunger and poverty. Since it has been 33 years that we last faced a financial shortfall that required intentionally engaging the community to assist, we believe the community understands TRM not to be an organization that calls out for emergency help unless it’s warranted. We are in hopes this call to action will re-engage the community to the importance of working together on the issues of homelessness, hunger and poverty, standing with TRM both financially and with much needed innovative ideas yet to be discovered. TRM will continue engagement with our primary funding source – individuals, churches, businesses and organizations within our community with a heighten awareness of our financial needs. This effort requires a two-pronged approach.
Update 12/30/2019: Because of the generosity of our community, TRM. We will continue to intentionally cultivate and engage the community by keeping them informed about the challenges facing our community related to homelessness and poverty, hopefully to inspire and equip them to be a part of the efforts to bring hope back to those who see no future for themselves.
In September TRM announced an ongoing engagement and giving campaign entitled Threedom Topeka. “Threedom for the Homeless. Freedom from Suffering.” This campaign will begin January 3, 2020 and will encourage people throughout our community to discuss and engage on the issue of homelessness. On the 3rd day of every month at 3 p.m. we will invite the community to 1. Give a financial gift to TRM that includes the number 3 ($3, $13, $30, etc), 2. pray for the homeless and hungry of our community and 3. perform an act of kindness for 3 people they don’t know. This is an example of how TRM will intentionally focus the community in our work and the critical situation of homelessness in our community.
A: There are many possible factors that play into the number of people experiencing homelessness. This is not only a problem here in our community. It is a national crisis. Fortunately our community has been proactive for many years addressing the needs of the homeless yet more work is still ahead of us.
A: Update 12/30/2019: All programs of TRM will focus on providing the best possible services to those experiencing homelessness or the effects of living in poverty. Our goal is to Feed Shelter and Heal. This includes food for guests and the community, shelter for the homeless, outreach to the unsheltered, programming that addresses the trauma of those who we serve – men, women, and children – and programming that assists our guests with progressing toward a life that allows them to be safe and more self-sustaining.
A: Update 12/30/2019: TRM has explored a variety of program adjustments and determined the following changes would be made:
- TRM has discontinued retail operations. We have closed the Thrift Store and will cease operations at Boutique on the October 1, 2019. Beginning in February we will have monthly warehouse sales during the first week of the month. The sales will occur at 206 NW Norris.
- We have temporarily suspended the childcare activities at the Children’s Palace and are exploring different partnership opportunities that would allow for reinstating those services in the future.
- We will be transitioning our Restore Hope programming to Freedom’s Path USA after the first of the year and will be partnering with them to support our human trafficking intervention activities.
TRM is continuing to explore operational cost cutting measures that will not impact our ability to provide excellent service to our guests and the community.
A: Update 12/30/2019: The greater Topeka community has been incredibly supportive and generous. In the months since the announcement, the community responded by providing financial gifts and words of support. We will continue to need financial support from the community equaling approximately $290,000 per month in order to continue to provide services to the homeless and impoverished individuals and families in our community.
A: Update 12/30/2019: TRM currently employs 70 staff to cover a 24-hour organization. The current total annual salary amount, not including the executive director, equals $1,893,562. Based on those current figures, the average salary at TRM is $27,442. Including the executive director, the average annual salary equals $28,210.
A: TRM has 8 members on our board of directors. They are gracious volunteers who receive no compensation.
A: No. We received 3 unsolicited major gifts with the request to better serve our tiniest guests. Early education plays such a critical role in the lives of all children. For the children we serve it is life altering. By providing trauma-based services and education for the children and their parents, we hope to break the cycle of generational poverty and trauma.
A: As a non-profit, TRM has an independent financial audit conducted annually. TRM is also required by the IRS to submit an annual 990 tax return. It can be found by clicking here.
A: If someone is homeless or hungry we serve them regardless of their identity, orientation, race, religion, political views, world views, etc. God tells us that He loves everyone and that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. While we receive and serve all in their times of crisis, and work to bring stability and safety to their lives, we also must make sure we are offering a safe and comfortable environment for all who seek refuge. TRM shelters are a compilation of people with many different and complex challenges, with the commonalities of being homeless, hungry and desperate. We are here to serve and comfort everyone.
Q: Will you be updating the community on progress related to eliminating the financial gap and continued services? Yes.
A: Update 12/30/2019: We will continue to update the community regularly through our website, social media sites, our monthly newsletter, and our weekly audio podcast. Our website address is: www.trmonline.org; our Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/TRMMinistries/; connect with us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trm_ministries; our audio podcast, Our Community Our Mission, can be accessed at http://ourcommunityourmission.buzzsprout.com/