The St. Vincent de Paul of Douglas County provides support for families from Omaha and other towns in the county that are faced with a crisis. There is assistance for challenges ranging from unemployment or under-employment, major illness, limited access to quality health-care, or homelessness. While the exact assistance will vary, the Society of Saint Vincent and its member churches may have free food, clothing, housing or help those with a lack of ability to pay their bills on time.
Case managers as well as volunteers work with struggling clients to help them transition from a life of struggle to a life of self-sufficiency. This is provided after the immediate crisis has been addressed. Some of those supportive services offered include improving education, referrals to public aid to improve their financial situation, coordinating health care and even spiritual well-being. This is done by St. Vincent through loving, Christ-centered case management and mutual accountability. Clients are offered a helping hand out of a crisis situation in a holistic approach.
One seasonal service, the Christmas Toy Store, provides disadvantaged parents in Omaha the opportunity to provide their children with gifts as well as small toys during a financial hardship. Parents are able to select new, unwrapped gifts at Christmastime. These presents and clothing items, along with stocking stuffers, hot holiday meals, boxes and bows are available from donations to the churches in the community.
The Christmas assistance from St. Vincent of Douglas County gives new toys to hundreds of children from low income families. There are dozens of families and businesses that contribute to this program as well. Toys are collected at the main office, churches or even at malls that participate. Eligible families from Douglas County are found through Family Assistance Services.
Supportive services are available to struggling households. Clients may be faced with the loss of their home or apartment, or they may be currently homeless. Specialists help disadvantaged clients find a solution to their crisis.
Assistance from Douglas County St. Vincent de Paul that is available can help them transition to permanent housing by assessing their individual needs and strengths. In addition, other support is given including researching resources to locate housing/prevent eviction, advocacy for families, planning goals, supporting families to maintain their housing and monitoring progress.
In limited cases, Saint Vincent of Omaha can offer direct financial assistance. Or there are referrals to government grant programs. This is also available in some cases. Any financial aid is combined with various support services such as case management and job skills training. Additionally, a participant of Douglas County St. Vincent de Paul may access help such as outreach, get referrals to local hotline such as the United Way and transitional living services.
There is a special program that offers financial aid and support for individuals who are homeless or on the verge of it. It will swiftly re-establish housing and stability. The resource is known as the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and it is federally funded.
Areas of support and help may include funds or loans for short-term rental assistance, housing relocation, energy bill help, and stabilization services. The Saint Vincent de Paul of Douglas County will offer the person access to budgeting classes, assistance in job searches and case management. Potential applicants must meet a predetermined income requirement of 30% area median income.
Volunteers from St. Vincent can refer people to the Weatherization Assistance Program. This DOE service offers computerized audits using diagnostic technology to assess the energy-conservation needs of a qualified house. This will help keep a home warm during the cold Douglas County Nebraska winter months.
Improvements may include caulking and sealing of cracks and holes; insulating of attics, walls and floors; weather stripping of doors and windows; installing of storm windows and energy-saving light bulbs; repairing and retrofitting of furnaces, and replacing of energy-wasting refrigerators and electric water heaters.
Funding for weatherization is provided from the state of Nebraska, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. This program, which staff from Douglas County St. Vincent may have referrals too, is offered free of charge for qualified low income households that meet predetermined income guidelines. Weatherization empowers households by making their homes secure from the elements, it will help them conserves energy and allows them to use their income for other basic living necessities such as food, medicine, clothing, transportation.
The St. Vincent of Douglas County is a partner of the National Family Caregiver Program. This is available as a low-income supportive senior service that offers one time assistance with respite care and access to supplemental resources.
For income qualified senior citizens and the elderly, assistance offered may include referrals to government grants for paying rent or utility payments. There are also resources for purchasing medication, providing food and medical equipment, and much more depending on the client’s individual needs.
Free food is also available from the church pantries that are part of the charity. In fact, a number of meals have been provided to low-income, unfortunate senior citizens and their spouses aged 60 years across Douglas County. There are different components of it, including income requirements and a proof of need.
The aid is available throughout the county via Meals-on-Wheels and any of the participating Dining and Activity Centers in the area. A registered dietician from St. Vincent partner groups does the planning and professional staff prepare and deliver the meals with the help of dedicated volunteers.
Another transportation program is run through the agency as well. There is a service for Retired Individuals Driving the Elderly Services, which offers needy senior citizens roundtrip transportation to their local medical appointments in Omaha.
A formal application is required, which may involve a home visit. For more details, dial 402-346-5445 for intake.
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