In my last post I listed the biggest challenges for homeless people. In case you missed them, here they are.
- Affordable housing is very hard to come by
- Lack of saleable skills prevents obtaining real gainful employment
- The costs of transportation (car, insurance, fuel, etc.) are crippling
- Much needed medical and dental treatments are out of reach for the majority
- Money management skills are non-existent
After thinking and praying over how to help conquer these problems I came to the conclusion that we were working on the solutions from the wrong direction.
Instead of coming up with more low cost housing that would probably be substandard at best or helping locate low-end (dead-end) jobs that pay minimum wage I decided we needed to help the homeless become capable of affording the housing that already exists by helping get trained and educated to the point that they could afford the housing that already exists.
We have created a 3-stage, long-term residency program that would give them the time to attend and graduate from either a degree program from Hill College or a vocational certification program to prepare for a decent paying job. Details of the program are listed below:
Stage 1: Days 1-7 INITIAL ENTRY PROGRAM
- A completed application on file with JCCL
- Personal intake interview with the Lodge Manager
- An approved background check
During days 1 to 7 the resident must follow all basic lodge rules, attend all classes, mandatory events and Bible studies scheduled.
Resident is assigned a daily chore for completion.
Resident must meet with the Executive Director to determine eligibility to enter stages 2 and 3.
Resident must leave the shelter during the day per generic calendar.
Primary goal – They are to obtain or update all identification to a current status. Failure to do this means exit at that time.
Stage 2: Days 8-60 BASIC ENTRY PROGRAM If approved for entry by the director the resident officially advances into the Basic Entry program.
- A completed application on file with JCCL
- Personal interview and goal setting session with the Executive Director
- Signed letter of understanding and commitment
- During days 8 to 60 the resident must follow all basic lodge rules, attend all classes, mandatory events and Bible studies scheduled.
- Resident is assigned a daily chore for completion.
- If resident does not have at least a GED certificate they must immediately begin GED provided classes provided by the Lodge or Cleburne Adult Education.
- Resident must obtain additional identification, as needed. (Examples include a current driver’s license, birth certificate, High School Diplomas, GED certificate, veteran confirmation.)
- Resident must meet weekly with a caseworker to determine and monitor progress towards primary goals 1 & 2 below.
- Primary goal 1-They are to submit applications for an advanced training certification or degree program and resolve financial aid and get accepted.
- Primary goal 2-They are to locate and begin part-time employment.
Stage 3: Days 61-? OPTIONAL LONG-TERM HOUSING PROGRAM At 60 days the resident may choose to leave the lodge and continue independently or remain in the long-term program to continue and complete their education. If they choose to stay the following conditions apply:
During this time the resident must begin and continue in an advanced education program.
- Resident must follow all advanced lodge rules. [provided at time of acceptance for long-term residency]
- Resident must maintain a 2.5 Academic average
- Resident must take a minimum of 10 semester hours.
- Resident must work a maximum of 20 hours of part-time employment.
- Resident must pay their rent at the beginning of each time period. [see following details]
Stages 1 and 2 are no cost to the resident. In stage 3 the resident pays a monthly rent of $100 a month. For a family of two adults it would be $200 a month. There is a maximum rate of $200 per family for 3 to 4 persons total. There is also a one-time $75 application fee. This money is nonrefundable.
The above cost includes housing, utilities, and breakfast. An optional meal plan is available at $25 per adult per week and $15 per child per week. The money is due at the beginning of the month and is nonrefundable whether or not they eat. Meal plan money may be paid by cash or by providing an equal value in grocery items. It must be items from the posted food needs list and must be equal to the cash value owed. Any food donated without a receipt will not be credited to their account.
This is our plan for helping the homeless move from poverty to self-sufficiency. Look this over and comment on it. I’m sure we can improve it as time goes by.