NONPROFIT The BridgeOver TroubledWaters Pasadena group extends lifeline to the vulnerable B ay Area residents of all ages can turn to the sta at The Bridge Over Troubled Waters 2020, Rivers said. As many services as possible were oered in distanc- ing-friendly settings, from support groups to social activities. Rivers said sta on-site continued to make life as happy as possible. BY COLLEEN FERGUSON
for help in times of crisis, whether this involves services related to domestic violence, housing or advo- cacy, among others. Providing these services amid COVID-19 has meant dealing with, as Executive Director Olivia Rivers put it, “a pandemic within a pandemic.” The Bridge has provided education, support, safe spaces, guidance and action item steps to those experi- encing domestic violence, human tracking, sexual assault, any form of trauma or abuse, family instability or housing issues for more than 40 years. The pandemic presented many challenges for the vulnerable popula- tions The Bridge serves, Rivers said, as lives continued changing and stability became much more relative. Clients can remain in The Bridge’s housing for 30 to 180 days; up to 100 clients can be housed in the emer- gency shelter, and around 200 can be housed in the Destiny Village Tran- sitional Housing Program’s approxi- mately 30 apartments. Over the course of their stay, clients are tasked with meeting certain goals, many of which had to be adjusted during COVID-19. “We denitely changed what it meant to be successful in our program,” she said, adding the early days of the pandemic were when sta focused solely on keeping people illness free. “At that moment, success for us meant safety; it meant health.” Sta lived on-site with clients for a 45-day period during the pan- demic-induced lockdowns in spring
The facility at 3811 Allen-Genoa Road, Pasadena, is the nonprot’s third location. The Bridge has evolved its programs and services over the years to focus on children’s services and counseling in addition to women’s services since communities are stron- gest when the issues women face are addressed from all sides, Rivers said. Services are available to anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, she emphasized. Amid the pandemic, The Bridge has seen an increase in both transgender and male clientele, Rivers said, as well as an increase in people calling to inquire about basic necessities such as water and baby formula. The nonprot performs as much mobile or remote advocacy as it can, especially given the lack of access to transportation southeast Houston’s underserved populations experience, Rivers said. “You have to go out and meet the community where they are,” she said. This has been made possible through locals who donate clothing, food, money, supplies and their time, Rivers added. The Bridge aims to continue to help people in communi- ties where they can nd the kindness they need. “A community is not just people you share a ZIP code with—community can be massive,” Rivers said. “We’re not meant to go through life on our own.”
Olivia Rivers became executive director and CEO at The Bridge in January.
Clients have helped ll the Pasadena facility with color, including theUnitymural.
PHOTOS BY COLLEEN FERGUSONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
The outdoor bridge was a feature selected by the children The Bridge serves.
The Bridge has a Pasadena oce and a Baytown oce. Both are equipped to help clients handle crisis situations, from abuse to homelessness. • Emergency shelter (at Pasadena location only) • Crisis intervention • A 24-hour chat and phone hotline • Safety planning
• Community education • Primary prevention • Case management • Hospital accompaniments • Court and police accompaniments • Licensed on-site daycare • Counseling • Support groups • Parenting classes • Money management education
• Housing assessments • Life skills education
The BridgeOver TroubledWaters 3811 Allen-Genoa Road, Pasadena 713-472-0753 www.tbotw.org
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