HOPE For the Homeless is a non-profit 501c3 that serves as the HUD mandated homeless Continuum of Care for Northwest Louisiana. Additionally, HOPE serves the role of front door for those who are homeless to enter the system of care. We are implementing a truly collaborative project that will streamline, connect, and make the maximum economic use of the existing homeless services resources in the Shreveport area. The project will be located at 2350 Levy Street, Shreveport, LA 71103. It includes three metal warehouse buildings that will be renovated to meet the specifications of the project. The offices of HOPE for the Homeless, the homeless coalition for Northwest Louisiana, will be located onsite and will manage the collaborative project. The project will consist of five primary parts designed to triage and prioritize the immediate needs of those who need to utilize the existing homeless system:
- - Coordinated Access Point
- - Day Shelter Services
- - Low Restrictions Shelter
- - Street Outreach Services
- - Hospitality House Soup Kitchen
The goal of all parts of the project will be to provide the services needed to quickly obtain and maintain the most appropriate type of services and permanent housing for every homeless person in our community.
1) A primary point of entry for homeless services will enable anyone who is homeless to access all homeless services in our area through a central source using a triage method to determine the intensity and scope of needs. The Coordinated Access Point will provide the essential services needed to reduce the barriers that keep a person from being stably housed. These services will include:
- A complete assessment in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) that will be accessible by all homeless providers participating in the system
- Access to mental health, substance abuse treatment/services, and medical care
- Enrollment in Governmental benefits such as SSI, SSDI, Food Stamps, etc.
- Access to an array of Veterans’ Services as needed
- Access to employment assistance, education, and/or legal services
- Volunteer mentoring services
- Person to person referrals to the most appropriate type of housing
All professional homeless service agencies will be invited to provide their services at the CAP. Those agencies who have already signed on to provide services are Volunteers of America NL, VA Homeless Program, and St. Luke’s Medical Ministry, MLK Health Clinic, and Easter Seals.
2) Day Shelter Services – HOPE for the Homeless currently operates the Hope House Homeless Day Shelter on behalf of Holy Cross Episcopal Church. We have proposed to Holy Cross that the existing Day Shelter be co-located with the overnight shelter. The current services of Hope House include showers, laundry facilities, mail receipt, and telephone services. These services would continue in their current state and would continue to be used to not only provide essential services that are needed by those who are street homeless, but primarily, to engage those not yet seeking housing and other needed services.
3) Street Outreach Services - HOPE operates a Street Outreach Program to serve those homeless persons who are living in homeless camps, abandoned buildings, or emergency shelters. This project would also be moved to the new location. The HOPE Outreach Team consists of a licensed substance abuse professional and a licensed mental health professional. The team uses a van to find the camps, etc. They build relationships with homeless people and then try to engage them into case management services to link the client to healthcare, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and/or transportation with the ultimate goal of the client obtaining and remaining in permanent housing.
4) Overnight Low-Restrictions Triage Shelter – The two shelters in our area are high-demand in that they require drug screens, breathalyzers, and are unable to accept those with severe mental illness. These shelters currently operate at full capacity and do an amazing job of meeting the needs of the populations they serve, which include families with children. The proposed shelter would not be competing with the current shelters; it would fill an important gap by admitting those who do not qualify for the other shelters. It will have very few restrictions aside from behavior that is not violent in any way. This type of shelter has been proven throughout the country to enable those who have been thought of as “unhousable” to be engaged into the appropriate services that enable them to be successfully housed.
5) Soup Kitchen – Christian Services now operates the Hospitality House Soup Kitchen. We have proposed that they move the Hospitality House to be co-located with these other services. Their board has voted to move forward as made possible by HOPE’s progress with this project. The current Soup Kitchen is located in Ledbetter Heights where much revitalization is occurring.