April 8, 2016

Jodi Hartmann, Greeley Transitional House

2016 Women of Distinction - Nonprofit, Human Services

For decades, Jodi Hartmann has focused on speaking up for people who rarely have their own audience.  As executive director of Greeley Transitional House, she makes a point of being heard by anyone who can help her turn a hard situation into a healthy present and a promising future for those people.

At the Greeley Transitional House, making that difference means helping families who are homeless find safety and stability in the midst of crisis.

These families end up homeless for a variety of reasons — from a lost job or business foreclosure to domestic violence or unexpected medical bills. The conflict between lack of affordable housing and low wages plays into the mix as well.

“These are invisible people who need a voice or they won’t get the support they need to get back on their feet,” Hartmann said, adding that homeless children are particularly vulnerable and susceptible to lifelong problems.

To help fill a gap between moving from a homeless shelter into market-rate housing, Hartmann has created strategic partnerships with organizations that can help meet the mission. Using a housing complex owned by the Greeley Urban Renewal Authority, for example, has given families stability while they work to create foundations that will enable them to be independent.

“She researched and recommended the addition of Camfield Corner Apartments as another way that we could expand our mission and positively impact more homeless families,” said Travis Gillmore, ex-officio board member of Greeley Transitional House. “Today GTH, through Camfield Corner Apartments, provides 13 apartments that are a critical piece of our transitional housing and follow-up programs.”

Heading up an organization with a budget of $400,000 requires good business sense as well as compassion. With 20 years of experience in financial management for the Greeley/Weld Economic Development Action Partnership, Hartmann knows how to best utilize a dollar and keep it moving in the right direction.

“Jodi is a woman who excels in undertaking the ongoing challenges of running a nonprofit with grace and strength,” said Bianca Fisher, associate director of the Greeley Downtown Development Authority. “She balances a heart to help with a strategic ability to run a sustainable organization that affects change in significant ways.”

Fisher, who also serves on the board of the Greeley Transitional House, pointed out an example of Hartmann’s skill at creating win-win partnerships.

“She recently developed a program in conjunction with the UNC School of Nursing to bring students in the public health education program to the Greeley Transitional House to provide one-on-one health education training with the residents as part of their clinical hours at no cost to the organization.”

In addition to emergency and transitional shelter, the Greeley Transitional House also offers case management and a variety of programs that include help with employment, nutrition and credit.

The average length of stay for families is about 55 days, and about 85 percent of them find housing and employment before they leave the program.

“Year round, we see about 80 families — about 300 individuals. About 175 of those are children,” Hartmann said. “People don’t realize that homeless families are pretty invisible  They could be the person standing next to you in a grocery store.”

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