Street Outreach Program
Going to the People:
Hope Center’s Newest Program, Street Outreach
“We have met a lot of different people, all with unique stories. One woman, recently separated from her husband, was living in a tent until she could find somewhere else to go.”- David Shadd
In March, 2016, Hope Center was awarded a three year grant through the Office of Homeless Prevention and Intervention for LFUCG to begin our Street Outreach Program. This program allows us to reach out to individuals in the community who do not come into shelters and who live on the streets, often under bridges, in the city parks, abandoned houses or other unfit living locations. In this short time, Street Outreach has already connected with 23 men and women.
We have met so many, each with a unique story. Some have been living on the streets for years and some are new. We met a couple who have been on the streets since losing their apartment and then losing their jobs. One woman, recently separated from her husband, was living in a tent until she could find somewhere else to go. Another couple were resistant to going to shelters because of their pet. Some struggle with mental illness or addiction and some struggle with being unemployed or underemployed.
Our goal is simple. We are here to assist with issues or needs, helping men and women get off the streets and, ultimately, into housing. Ben Wides, our Street Outreach Coordinator, works very closely with these individuals to identify those needs. He has helped several men and women find work, has screened them for housing referrals, and worked to build relationships with them. Without resources, small problems can become big problems and Ben has been able to help with getting basics like a social security card, birth certificate or ID. He has also helped with getting applications for apartments, benefits, and health insurance. Having someone assist with these tasks and someone to point toward resources that are already available can make all the difference in the world.
Not everyone has been receptive to accepting services, but for those individuals, we continue to build relationships and work on the barriers leading to their homelessness. Combined with our other outreach services through the HopeMobile, Housing First, and the Emergency Shelter, our Street Outreach Program is in a good position to provide comprehensive services designed to help these individuals get off the street and stay off the street.
For more information, contact Ben Wides at 859-252-7881