Many different programs are run by Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in DeKalb County, which is a leading charity in the city of Decatur as well as county of DeKalb. Much of the focus is on needs such as food or shelter. However, depending on donation levels, the agency may have money for emergency rental expenses or for utility bills, if it were to prevent homelessness. Many other resources are also available.
The most in demand program is their Emergency Services. Saint Vincent runs a food pantry for local DeKalb County residents. There may also be some government grants available for struggling, income qualified families. This is a form of outreach and it can help low income clients who are in crisis situations.
Emergency Services offers financial assistance with basic needs such as clothing, medical assistance, food and back rent or utility bill assistance. These funds are often called a key resource, and the solution is available so people have a place they can turn to in order to get support. Volunteers come together to work hand-in-hand with clients and help them when they are faced with dire straights. There are even bilingual volunteers to serve Spanish-speaking residents in Georgia.
Limited financial assistance is sometimes available. The funds are limited, and any aid is by appointment only. The charity will have grants to help with rent or utility payments. Limited financial assistance may be offered for medical needs, ranging from prescriptions to eyeglasses. Any assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and applicants must meet all appropriate guidelines.
Shelter as well as transitional housing for the homeless and working poor also includes one-on-one counseling. This lodging is combined with advice from Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in DeKalb County and is done in an effort to determine a client’s specific needs and address the crisis as well as offer long-term solutions. Referrals will be made to local charity agencies that can provide immediate assistance either in the form of short term housing or short-term financial assistance or loans for expenses such as a security deposit.
Mortgage Delinquency as well as Foreclosure Prevention counseling will help homeowners across DeKalb County. This is available as both one-on-one counseling as well as workshops. They are held in the following areas, such as restructuring debt, seeking loan forbearance, establishing reinstatement plans and managing household finances.
This area of focus on homeowners assists clients that are affected by predatory lending or facing a one time hardship. There is also foreclosure prevention and education, and staff from Saint Vincent or other HUD agencies pursue loss mitigation strategies. For homeowners facing foreclosure, one-on-counseling will include direct negotiation with the bank with the goal of preventing homelessness.
Budgeting classes and other Financial Skills can provide tips on how to live within means. After all, DeKalb County St. Vincent De Paul strongly believes this is the first step towards self-sufficiency. So partners of the agency offer free financial skills education to clients. Counselors work with residents to review budgets, help them increase their income and set spending priorities.
The on site food pantry provides a multiple day supply of free food. This is focused on people, including children, experiencing hunger or insecurity. Anyone who is qualified will receive healthy food items necessary for well-balanced meal preparation. In addition, low income families may also receive milk, fresh fruit and produce, and even items grown in their community garden. Special dietary needs are met for clients who are older or young, such as baby formula.
Clothing is available from the churches that are part of the Society for work or school reasons. Clients of the clothing bank select their own items after an interview with a volunteer. Nearly all goods passed out are donated from stores and individuals, and children’s blankets, underwear and diapers for new moms and more are purchased when funds are available.
During the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas help is also available as one of the outreach programs. Volunteers from across Decatur have come together to make dreams of Christmas a reality for needy families and children.
The services are somewhat unique in comparison to other local Christmas programs. This is the case as it is more efficient. Parents "shop" for toys and clothing needed their children, and are not just given somewhat random gifts. The churches believe that this design lends dignity to families and cuts back on waste.
DeKalb County St. Vincent De Paul Thrift store, or Resale Shop, is run in the region. The location serves as the central site where all donations of furniture and other goods are sorted. Volunteers do this. Then the store is open for the public to shop in, and the prices will be a fraction of full retail cost. This location will truly benefit those residents who live on a fixed or limited income.
The money raised from the sale of donated clothing and related support the financial assistance programs of DeKalb County St. Vincent De Paul, most of which are listed above. Generous community members as well as local businesses donate gently used items, such as furniture, clothing, lamps, rugs, toys, household items, appliances and collectibles. If someone does donate, note they will receive a tax receipt, so there is a financial benefit.
In addition to above, there is a Referral System. This can provide other long-term assistance and needs such as health-care, affordable child care, and access to low-cost housing.
Many local churches and volunteers are part of the charity. Dial the local branch at 678-892-6160.
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