Archive for Homeless children and families services
The Villa’s Career and Transition Services program is really taking off! Students are busy with on-campus internships, delivering office supplies, serving food, sorting mail and shelving materials. Above, Meghan prepares food in the Villa’s new Culinary Arts Center’s training program.
Congratulations to Matt Kreydatus and LaSonia Lee for helping our students prepare for life after school!
A small Villa outpost is quietly making a big impact in the Petersburg Community. In early November, St. Joseph’s Villa opened the Flagler Housing Resource Center in downtown Petersburg. The office is located in The Hope Center, an old warehouse which has been converted into a collection of six or seven offices for area nonprofits serving the Petersburg community.
The Villa office helps people transition from homelessness into stable housing. It has three tools: Prevention services for families (and individuals) who are on the brink of becoming homeless; Rapid Re-housing for families who are homeless; and services for homeless Veterans. In each case grant funds assist with rent and utilities to prevent eviction or help a household move into a new apartment. The effect? People who seemed to have no options suddenly have a roof over their heads and a chance to catch up and to plan for their futures.
The Flagler Housing Resource Center is manned by two women with plenty of skills: Claudia Perez (at right in photo), who most recently was the Housing Specialist at Flagler Community and who played a key role in the success of the Rapid Re-housing Pilot, and Maureen Hulsey (at left in photo), a longtime social worker who just joined St. Joseph’s Villa and also is the wife of a Marine at Fort Lee. Maureen works with veterans, and Claudia works with the other families.
In the first three months of operation, the Housing Resource Center helped more than 50 families escape or avoid homelessness, and demand for their services is steadily increasing. Funds are provided through a variety of grants, and of course, they are limited, so not as much is being done as what might be possible with more funding. Several grant applications are in the works, and given the outcomes from the first three months, we are optimistic the program can and will expand.
In the meantime, each of us owes a big “Thank you!” to Claudia, Maureen and the Flagler HRC for helping people get back on their feet and start on their path into stability.
By Ann Frost, Villa Volunteer
I began my volunteer work at St Joseph’s Villa with two little boys when the Villa Pals program began. I was looking for something to do to try and make a difference with kids after retiring from 35 years of teaching in Chesterfield County. Little did I know, they would make the difference in me. These kids and this program have really touched my heart and have been an inspiration to me.
My latest little one has been a young lady full of energy and spunk. She has kept me busy and made me laugh each time I am with her. From the moment I got her from whatever activity she was involved in, until I returned, she kept me on my toes. We played lots of games, did a little art work (not really her thing) but mostly she just wanted to engage in pretend play. Her imagination was really something!!
We started trying to ride her bike in the Spring when the weather began to improve and we could be outside. She gave up rather quickly when it did not come easy to her. I tried to encourage her to keep trying but she was not interested. When someone came to take our picture for the newsletter her interest was sparked again. On different days we would take out the bike and try riding it in the grass in case she fell. Finally on our last day together I convinced her to give it a try on the hard surface of the road. She was very hesitant but went along with me. I got her started and away she went. She rode about 50 feet, jumped off and turned to me with her arms up in the air….”I DID IT!”, she screamed. The joy on her face brought tears to my eyes. She then had to stop anyone that went by and had them watch her ride her bike.
This program has been such a success not only for the children but for the volunteers as well. My time with these kids has been such a rewarding experience. Thank you to St. Joseph’s Villa and all who are responsible for making this happen. I cannot imagine my life without my little ones!