In January we officially changed our bed model in effort to narrow the transportation gap that previously enabled some of our neighborhoods from receiving beds.
In reflection of our 2022 Fiscal Year, we discovered that only 64% of neighbors who received bed vouchers from our Vincentians redeemed their vouchers.
This percentage is observably lower than what we would like to achieve for 2023. Nearly every month the demand for beds 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 an entirely new challenge. Our previous mattresses required a truck or van to come collect mattresses from our distribution center. We believe this is the main enabler that created the gap between vouchers distributed versus vouchers redeemed.
To help neighbors without these vehicles, our amazing volunteer team, the Mighty Men, deliver beds straight to our neighbors’ doorstep. However, these volunteers only have the time and resources to meet once a month. Even with the help of volunteers, we are unable to deliver all of the beds that we can 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 been observed collecting mattresses since mid-January than our distribution center has seen within a one-month period in over 2 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 traveling from their conferences to collect beds for our neighbors. Our team of Mighty Men can now fit more beds onto each vehicle at a time as well.
More future updates on our bed program will be announced. We already see a glimpse of success from this transition and will continue to look for ways to improve our programs for the benefit of our neighbors.