When some people think of a homeless person, they envision a middle aged man who’s mentally ill or has a problem with substance abuse, or sometimes both. Or an individual who has fallen on hard times and is drifting from place to place, trying to get a foothold and make a new start. Across the country, those descriptions fit two out of three homeless. (U.S. Dept. of Housing Urban Development AHAR annual report to Congress) 2007) Here in NELA, two out of three homeless are a young parent and their children, who are fleeing a violent home or because of depression or a bad break, or a poor choice have landed on the streets. (NELA Homeless Coalition Point in Time, 2009)
How often it happens: On any given night in NELA, nearly 300 people are on the streets, sleeping in the backseat of a car, in a park or the woods or another site unfit for human habitation. 59% of those are a parent or family with children under 18 with them on the streets. About 37% of those who give a cause for their homelessness said they were homeless because are fleeing DV. 63% have a disabling illness or condition. (2009)
What it means: If you look just a dollar cost, a 2004 Florida study showed each homeless person costs the state nearly $12,000 a year in lost tax revenue. The human toll is far greater – homeless persons are more likely to have difficulty getting or keeping a job, suffer mental health issues like depression, to be sick, and to live in poverty. (naeh.org, 2009) The impact on homeless children in particular is difficult, with reduced school attendance and performance as well the mental and physical health problems.(US DHH Rog et al 2007)”
The good news is -- there's help through The Wellspring's Home at Last program.
Q: What is Home at Last?
A: A program offered by The Wellspring to help homeless families (those with dependent children under 18).
Q: Who is eligible to participate in Home at Last?
A: Homeless families with at least one dependant child who are from Caldwell, East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Franklin, or West Carroll Parishes may participate if their household income qualifies:
# Persons in
Household Annual income
One* below $19,140
Two below $25,660
Three below $32,180
Four below $38,700
Five below $45,220
Six below $51,740
Seven below $58,260
Eight** below $64,780
* A family of one can qualify if it includes the parent of a minor child who does not live in the parent’s home
** For a family over 8, add $6,280 for each additional family member
If you are not sure if you qualify, please contact The Wellspring at (318) 807-6200 or (318) 323-1505 or 1-800-716-7233 for more information
Q: Is there a fee to participate in Home at Last?
A: No. All services of the Home at Last program are free as long as the participants comply with the program requirements.
Q: Is a referral needed for my family to participate in the program?
A: Any community agency or organization who serves area families may refer a family to Home at Last, but no formal referral is needed. Families may access the program simply by contacting The Wellspring (see below for contact info).
Q: How does a family access Home at Last services?
A: They should call The Wellspring at (318) 807-6200 or (318) 323-1505 or 1-800-716-7233 and ask for the Home at Last program.
Q: What help is available through this program?
A: Families enrolled in the program can receive help with the following:
· Basic needs (food, clothing, shelter)
· Case management
· Life skills training including financial empowerment, job preparation, managing conflict, housing counseling, and more
· Housing (where available and subject to eligibility)
· Help removing barriers to permanent housing including 1st month’s rent, deposits, utility connections, and more
· Referrals for transportation, healthcare, prescriptions, child care, and job training and assistance
Q: How can I get more information?
A: Call The Wellspring at (318) 807-6200 or (318) 323-1505 or 1-800-716-7233 and ask for the Home at Last program.
Home at Last is a free service of The Wellspring funded by the Louisiana Dept. of Social Services.