When someone is in the midst of a crisis, it can be difficult to know where to turn.  Good Neighbors of Blount County, Tennessee wants to help with a mission to “help lift Blount County neighbors out of a temporary crisis.”  Good Neighbors was created in 1996 out of a need for a central organization that could specifically handle the increasing benevolence requests from Blount County residents.  Good Neighbors is dedicated to making sure that everyone has an opportunity to receive the help and support they need when going through a difficult time in life.  

 

Neighbors Helping Their Neighbors

 

Good Neighbors is a nonprofit organization that is funded by churches, civic groups and individuals.  The groups that work alongside Good Neighbors are called partners, and most referrals happen through partner organizations.  When these groups come across someone in need who has a situation that will require ongoing support and attention, it can be difficult for a church or individual to provide sufficient support.  That’s where Good Neighbors comes in.  When a partner refers someone to Good Neighbors, they can be assured that the resident will receive resources that will see them through the crisis resolution process, from beginning to end.     

 

Good Neighbors has a specific process for helping that ensures that everyone receives exactly the type of help they need.  First, the person seeking assistance calls Good Neighbors and sets up an initial appointment during which they meet with a trained coach.  The coach works together with the resident and creates a plan for how to improve their situation through monetary assistance, financial planning, and any other necessary avenue that will allow the resident to get onto a successful path and break any existing cycle that is interfering with self-sufficiency.  

 

Residents receive one-time financial assistance, such as payment of a bill, if necessary.  If the bill is very substantial, the resident will be asked to come up with a portion of the money themselves.  One way they can accomplish this is through pledges from churches or other organizations. The pledges will only be released when the resident has the entire amount needed to pay the bill.  Good Neighbors, along with any organizations that have made pledges, then contact the utility company or landlord directly and make a payment to the resident’s account.  Once the resident is caught up on financial needs, they can move on with the rest of their plan, which often includes creating and sticking with a specified budget.  Good Neighbors continues to make follow up calls to check on the resident and offer further suggestions if needed.  

 

Volunteer and Support Opportunities Available

 

Volunteers are crucial to the ongoing success of Good Neighbors.  There is only one paid staff member, so donations in the form of volunteer time are always appreciated.  Financial donations are also needed, and Good Neighbors holds benefits and charity drives throughout the year to bring awareness to the community and help raise funds.  

 

Good Neighbors is meeting an important need in the Blount County community and is providing solutions that have helped countless residents get back on their feet.  To learn more about Good Neighbors or to donate, visit their website at http://goodneighborsbc.org