Building Improvements List is Still Long, But with Help,
We Are Slowly Crossing Off Some Items
Starting with some exciting and positive news, there was a recent wonderful gift from longtime Dixon Family Services board member, Sarah Villec. Sarah made the purchase of 6 Ring solar-powered surveillance cameras to go around the entire building! This was not an inexpensive gift and the thoughtfulness that went into her decision is demonstrates how much she cares about our staff and their safety. You would think that all we needed to do next was hire a tech person to hook that all equipment up for us.
But the news just kept getting better when Sarah’s grandson, Brandon, volunteered almost an entire day off from his job at Geek Squad to install, program and explain the surveillance system to all DFS staff members.
Brandon is a delightful young man and we all loved having him here for the day. We respect his technical expertise and skills, his bright personality and can-do attitude. We all feel so much safer now and we are very hopeful that bad people will stop doing bad things to and around our building.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU SARAH AND BRANDON FOR YOUR GIFT TO DFS!!
Some History to this story: About a year ago DFS created a list of building improvement issues stemming from safety and sanitation concerns and we wrote a story about the list and the fact that our big restoration/remodel was 25 years ago. It was our hope that the City of Dixon, members of the community, church groups and/or service organizations would step-up and help us out. It was a matter of that old saying, “If you don’t ask, the answer is automatically no.” I learned that and many other wise tidbits from Sarah.
In November 2022 I expressed our concerns at a City Council meeting. Reminding the council and mayor that our complete remodel of the building, was 25 years ago and certain items were rightfully in need of attention, some more urgently than others. Such items included a leak in the roof, our old and limping AC/Heat Systems, and some plumbing issues. Other items mentioned were cosmetic in nature, but hey, I can dream.
In 1998 the gut and rebuild was paid for with health and safety capital grants that Dixon Family Services, as a non-profit organization, was able to secure at the time as an alternative to demolishing the long-disregarded building with so many problems at the time, it was deemed uninhabitable.
I then invited several City Staff members and department heads to visit our building to go over the list of items that we felt were worthy of consideration. One item of concern, the drainage issue, was looked at and determined to not be a problem. We had noticed that there was accumulation of several inches of water that would sit next to the back of the building for days after rains.
Soon after the visits, a couple of other items were addressed by the city, including fixing a hole in the roof and replacing bulbs in the exterior light fixtures. We appreciate and thanked the city for those items being fixed. The men from Planning, Engineering and Fire Department were also very helpful with suggestions, and gave blessings for us to move forward with the list of tasks we wanted to get done.
Since then, we have gotten a few important tasks accomplished, and have decided that some are better to put on the “back-burner” for now. We have a few updates to share with the community.
The painting of the building became a back-burner item that we would love to have done, but is so expensive it is unrealistic at this time. A bid came in for $18,400 and that did not include any repair of dry rotted wood, or replacement of damaged trim.
A plan to move our food pantry into our community room took off the task of removing the old rollup door and putting up a wall in its place. This was an item on the list because mice were getting inside due to the rollup door not having a tight seal. We are content with the new DFS Pantry living in our large room in the back that used to be the courtroom section of the old city building.
The removal of the dumpster enclosure also became a less worrisome item once we put up a barrier to keep people from dumping sofas, beds, barbeques and other items they preferred not to haul off to the dumps. Cover your ears, but it had also been being used as an outdoor urinal by some of our neighbors. Now that we have cameras and a barrier, I hope I never witness that again. It is still my hope that a group with sledge hammers or an automatic jack hammer will one day tear it down.
With the purchase of steel barriers and installation of surveillance cameras, we are hopeful that many of the issues of abuse will stop happening. Unfortunately, many of the items of safety and/or sanitation stem from disrespectful and harmful actions of some, not all, tenants in the apartments next door.
The remaining list is now much shorter and includes:
- A 3.5-foot wooden fence around the front and north side of the property
- Landscape refresh on all sides of the building
- Repair two and replace two toilets
- Remove old dumpster enclosure
Other items of concern are due to the age of the building, such as cast-iron pipes that are corroding, and some cosmetics like flooring and paint. We will continue to solicit for help from people and groups who are looking for service projects, or want to help for any reason. I was talking with a member of one of Dixon’s finest service organizations and he and I agreed that it would be a wonderful thing for volunteers from several groups to come together and tackle that fence job. An opportunity to work together to accomplish something meaningful for Dixon Family Services and our community. There may be a Boy Scout looking for an Eagle Project. The possibilities are endless. Interested? Please call or email me. Thank you.
And remember, if you know of someone who needs our help, please suggest they call or email us. We no longer offer walk-in services, so it is important that they make the call to start the helping process. If we are not open or are busy helping clients with appointments, we promise to call back if you leave a contact phone number or email address. If our programs cannot help, we likely know of one that can.
To learn more about Dixon Family Services, and how you can help, call us at 707-678-0442, email Cookie@DixonFamilyServices.org, or go to our website www.DixonFamilyServices.org or find us on Facebook or Instagram. Thank you.
Once again Dixon Family Services was blessed with 3 foundation grants.
For the current fiscal year (July 2023 – June 2024) DFS is so grateful for 3 foundations who recently approved grants for our Basic Needs Program. Kaiser Permanente has been assisting DFS programs since our first grant request to their Community Benefit Program in 2008. This year their gift was for $25,000.
Genentech also supports our good work in the Basic Needs Program with grant funding since 2012. The recent gift from Genentech was for $15,000.
The United Way of the Bay Area began a new fund in 2021, the Housing Justice Initiative. One of their main areas of focus is prevention of homelessness. The UWBA Housing Justice grant to DFS for the second year in a row is for $25,000.
Dixon Family Services’ Basic Needs Program goals and expected outcomes unmistakably align with all 3 of the foundations’ objective of keeping people housed and safe during this very unstable time in history for low-income families in our community.
We are fortunate that our partners and donors are well aware that our organization is vital to our community’s health and wellbeing. It is with the support of foundation grants, churches, businesses, service organizations and individual donors that we will continue to do as much as we can, for as many as we can, for as long as we can. We are so very thankful for the financial backing, as well as the encouraging words we often hear from those who support us. We also receive joyous, and sometimes tearful words of gratitude from the parents who participate in our program.
We urge new businesses and new residents in town to join our efforts by contacting us by phone or email if interested in joining Team DFS. If you are interested in your new community’s wellbeing, Dixon Family Services is a very good place to get involved.
Our services continue to target low-income struggling households with children.
We expect the need for our Basic Needs Program to continue indefinitely.
Our current focus is to keep families housed.
40 years ago, DFS became a non-profit human services organization with a vision of helping elementary school children who were struggling to settle in, make friends, and other behavior issues noticed by parents or teachers. The Just for Kids Program was created and implemented by parents, teachers, school administrators and Dixon Family Services’ staff and volunteers. Many troubled children benefitted from the program that was provided in the schools, with parental permission.
We no longer provide the mentorship program in the schools, but we are pleased that now there are staff and resources within DUSD to help students and their parents experiencing adjustment or behavior issues at school. Now and then young adults will tell me that their “Special Friend” in the Just for Kids Program made a huge positive impact on them and they express their gratitude for having someone who met with them weekly, played games, talked about whatever was on their mind, and who cared about them when they needed it.
Today, the welfare of children is still of great importance to DFS. As a Family Resource Center, our overarching goal is for children to be safe, healthy and thriving in their homes. Our priority is assisting low-income families with children 0-18. We address some of the effects of poverty with our Basic Needs Case Management Program that focuses on families’ basic needs of housing, utilities and food. Case management activities include full assessment, budget counseling, and action plans with goals and steps that are specific to each different family. Case managers encourage, support and help navigate the systems to apply for government benefits, healthcare and other services that help improve the family’s well-being in the short term. Long term solutions often come from seeking better, more lucrative employment and learning common sense skills about how to manage household budgets.
Over a period of weeks or months working to accomplish these activities, we are often able to apply for one-time direct payments toward rent and/or utility bills. The cooperation and attentiveness of the parents to provide verifications and required documents is critical in this process. The levels of success are directly related to the participants’ willingness to set goals and take steps necessary to achieve objectives, with the ultimate goal of self-sufficiency. Focusing on these basic needs issues with low-income families has prevented evictions, utilities
shutoffs, and other undesirable predicaments in hundreds of Dixon households, keeping many children safely housed.
We do not provide mental health, substance abuse, or homeless services,
but we can give several referrals to programs that do.
DFS recently updated our Resource Guide
All human services providers have to make a choice about the services they will provide as well as the specific populations they can serve. Dixon Family Services has adjusted throughout its 40 years in business to address the most prevalent needs of our community, that we are best qualified to provide.
It is sometimes difficult to explain, but we cannot help everyone. For example, we get asked frequently about how we can help the homeless. With the lack of affordable housing and not enough shelters, this issue is a very tough one. Cities, Counties and State leaders are struggling with how to reduce homelessness, but so far, the problems have only gotten worse.
We get referrals from police, churches and others in the community who are hoping to help a homeless person. The unfortunate lack of services for those who have lost their housing, is why we fight so hard to avoid evictions with our Basic Needs Program.
There are several Government-funded agencies in Solano County whose focus and financial backing are intended to assist the unhoused. We refer people to Shelter Inc. 925-335-0698 shelterinc.org and Resource Connect Solano 707-652-7311 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recently updated our resource guide for human services categories not covered at our agency. People can access the list in English and Spanish on our website www.DixonFamilyServices.org. Those who want a printed copy can call us at 707-678-0442.
If you know of someone who needs our help, please suggest they call or email. We no longer offer walk-in services, so it is important that they make the call to start the helping process. If we are not open or are busy helping clients with appointments, we promise to call back if you leave a contact phone number or email address. If our programs cannot help, we likely know of one or more that can.
To learn more about Dixon Family Services, and how you can help, call us at 707-678-0442, email Info@DixonFamilyServices.org, go to our website www.DixonFamilyServices.org or find us on Facebook or Instagram. We do not respond to messages or comments on social media, but we do use it as a helpful means to get information out to the public. If you read something on our Facebook or Instagram page that you’d like to know more about, you can call or email. Thank you
Opportunities to Make a Difference for Those Struggling
Years 2020 and 2021 were challenging for many parents who found it hard to provide their families’ most basic needs of rent, utilities, food and other household necessities. “for the rest of the report, click here“