A group in Charlottesville is working to solve problems one step at a time. Monday night, Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together (IMPACT) voted on a new issue to tackle.
According to IMPACT's official website, they are a "direct action organization," that works to provide aid to those who are victims of "systemic injustices." IMPACT is currently made up of 25 member congregations from Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
Last year, the group worked on finding solutions to help end homelessness. Monday, hundreds voted to help better treat those with mental health issues at their meeting at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.
"We are for justice," said Dorothy Jordan, IMPACT board member.
Monday night, IMPACT met to choose a cause to focus on for 2014. People gave testimonies asking the group to work on unemployment and the affordable housing problem.
"Now, I totally understand what the unemployed people from all walks of life go through here in Charlottesville. I strongly think we need to increase job opportunities in this area," said Homer Weston, IMPACT meeting attendee.
"Poverty has not been a factor of how we came to be in this situation. It's a direct result of the extravagant cost of housing in our area and the dramatic lack of safe quality housing that's affordable," said Jen Larimer, IMPACT meeting attendee.
But the final vote was to create better access to mental health care. Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones and Albemarle County Executive Tom Foley also gave an update on last year's cause - working to end homelessness.
"The county and the city are working hand in hand in this. We realize a problem this big can't be tackled without the county and the city putting their resources together," said Foley.
Last year's efforts brought about a roundtable discussion to end the problem - and more than $100,000 in grants.
Even though a new cause is in the forefront - others are not forgotten. The group says it will continue to work with city and county leaders to bring changes.
"Communicate with all of the leaders who are involved to bring the solutions that we bring forth into fruition," said Jordan.
IMPACT will now create research teams who will meet with mental health professionals to help address the issue.
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