The History of ACTS
In the fall of 2003 a core group of five Richmond area churches came together with an idea to combine, streamline, and coordinate prevention services for those who were just “one step away from homelessness” and who often showed up on congregations’ doorsteps seeking help. They formed an Advisory Board called Area Congregations Together in Service (ACTS) to pool resources and share information and financial resources to more efficiently assist the families coming to these congregations for help.
Based on the success of this collaborative approach, the ACTS Advisory Board sought to expand the number of congregations involved and formalize the structure through which they delivered help. They took as their model, a prevention ministry in Charlotte, NC, known as Crisis Assistance Ministry (CAM). Founded in 1974 by a small group of churches, it since grown to be the largest homeless prevention agency in the Charlotte metro area–a collaborative effort that disperses millions of dollars in aid and services to prevent homelessness. Following a visit to CAM, the ACTS Board representatives returned home inspired with the vision of creating a centralized organization for assisting families in crisis in the Richmond metro area.
ACTS began receiving clients in August of 2006. It has steadily grown and is now supported by more than 50 interfaith partners as well as community and corporate foundations and ACTS has served hundreds of persons dispersing hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial assistance as well as case management support services. This service has kept most of these individuals and families (nearly half of them children) from falling into the destructive and devastating cycle of homelessness.