It is so easy to get caught up in our worries and feel like nothing is good in life. I’ve been feeling a bit down lately and it can be consuming. Today I was reminded that while my worries may be valid, there is always someone out there who has things a little (and a lot) worse. My friend, Candace invited me to tour HOPE for the Homeless, a.k.a. HOPE Connections Drop-In-Center, which is a collaboration of organizations and individuals dedicated to ending homelessness in Northwest Louisiana. Candace is a member of the board for the Volunteers of America North Louisiana (VOA) and she wanted to share how they are partnering with other agencies to provide hope in our community.
The Vision of HOPE for the Homeless is that no individual or family has to experience homelessness in Northwest Louisiana.
I really had no idea what to expect. What I found was so touching. The Drop-In-Center is truly a place of collaboration from over 60 agencies that work together to provide a safe resting place and resource center for the homeless.
What I understand about the challenges of being homeless and trying to obtain help is that navigating the system can be daunting, partly due to the travel distance between agencies. This Center provides shower facilities, laundry facilities, telephones, computers, mail receipt, medical services, and job opportunities. It is run by certified Peer Support Specialists that steer clients towards services that will help them obtain and maintain permanent housing.
What touched me most was hearing from Tony. Tony is a homeless veteran who landed in Shreveport after some set-backs in life. Tony, was resistant to accepting help because he has a dog, Obi Wan Kenobi (a three-legged sweetie). Tony had been offered help from other agencies, but with stipulations that he had to get rid of Obi. This was not an idea open for discussion with Tony. As an animal lover, I understand not wanting to give up the companionship. When the case worker from HOPE for the Homeless assured Tony that they would find a way to help them both and then followed through on that assurance, a trust relationship was formed. Because of the collaborations of several agencies, hope was given to Tony in a way that has allowed for a transition into a safer living situation. It has also given Tony a way to contribute back to the community.
HOPE Connections is located at 2350 Levy Street in Shreveport, LA. I hope you will consider taking a tour of this facility, or one of other VOA tours available. The collaborative efforts being made in our community are outstanding. Upcoming tours dates are as follows:
- Sept 2, 2015 – 11 am – Ballington Center at South Pointe Place – 1133 South Pointe Parkway, Shreveport
- Sept 2, 2015 – 4 pm – Highland Center – 520 Olive Street, Shreveport
- Oct 7, 2015 – 11 am – Lighthouse Bossier – 2101 Scott St, Bossier City
- Nov 4, 2015 – 11 am – Veterans Facility – 453 Jordan St., Shreveport
- Dec 2, 2015 – 11 am – Lighthouse – 802 Travis St, Shreveport
Want more information about Hope for the Homeless or VOA?
- HOPE Connection: Website | Facebook
- Volunteers of America North Louisiana: Website | Facebook | Twitter
There is hope in collaboration! I’m proud to live in an area where there are people that are working to improve the lives of everyone in the community.
That Just Happened!!
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes
* Source: http://nwlahope.org/ and site visit