New beds help with accessibility
In January, we changed our bed model in an effort to narrow the transportation gap that previously created obstacles for some of our neighbors receiving beds.
In review of our 2022 fiscal year, we found that only 64% of neighbors who received bed vouchers from our Vincentians had redeemed their vouchers.
This percentage is lower than what we would like to achieve in 2023, as nearly every month the demand for beds from neighbors within the Greater Cincinnati community exceeds our capacity. Our Vincentians often need to place neighbors seeking a bed for themselves and/or their children on a waiting list to receive beds the following month.
Once our neighbors receive a bed voucher from us, transportation can become a new challenge. Our previous mattresses required neighbors to have a truck or van to come collect their beds from our distribution center. We recognized this as hindrance that created a gap between vouchers distributed versus how many vouchers were being redeemed.
To help neighbors without vehicles, a team of volunteers from the Mighty Men meet once per month to deliver beds straight to our neighbors’ doorsteps. However, even with the help of volunteers, we are unable to deliver all of the beds that we distribute.
Our new approach to close the transportation gap is the use of new, more compact beds!
As of mid-January, we have been using compact, six-inch hybrid mattresses from Malouf which come rolled up in boxes. These mattresses, both twin and full, come with a compact bed frame and a mattress encasement that can all now fit inside a sedan. Larger vehicles are no longer necessary.
More neighbors have already collected mattresses since mid-January than our distribution center has seen within a one-month period in over two years. More neighbors are coming with smaller vehicles and two neighbors have successfully used public bus transportation to collect beds.
Additionally, more of our Vincentians are now able to load up their personal vehicles with these beds and are able to collect beds for our neighbors. Our team of Mighty Men can now fit more beds onto each vehicle at a time as well.
We will continue to provide updates on our Bed Program as needed. We already see a glimpse of success from this transition and will continue to look for ways to improve our programs for our neighbors.