Operating across dozens of counties in Georgia, including the greater Atlanta region, Society of St. Vincent de Paul is focused on helping individuals that are struggling. The faith based group and its local churches and Vincentians provide a number of services to clients. The specific resources will vary based on donations and other factors, but can include everything from food to housing and financial assistance for certain living expenses. More details are below, including on how St. Vincent can help people regain stability.
In many cases, participating in the Economic Journey (noted below) is required to get any financial aid. The Georgia branch of Society of St. Vincent de Paul only wants to help people that can get back on the patch to stability, and that can provide this. So they will help with rent or other bills for people that show that initiative and participate in education classes.
Programs and advice is available at Family Support Centers. These locations offer a number of assistance programs to qualified low income and working poor families in Georgia. Some of them include the following.
Most local St. Vincent de Paul conferences have a Client Choice Food Pantry on site, and they operate as a customer-choice model. The locations are looked at more as a grocery store, allowing families who need help to ‘shop’ with a trained volunteer for the groceries and other goods they need. As part of the Client Choice model, people are screened for benefits too, and this can include resources such as SNAP food stamps or summer meals for children.
There are many other conference-operated food banks throughout dozens of counties in Georgia. Using donations from the community, contributions from businesses such as Kroger, and mostly run by the Vincentians, each location tries to respond to the local community’s needy and prevent hunger. They have centers in Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, and many other towns and cities in Georgia.
Based on donations, the pantry may have groceries such as Assorted Dry Beans, Pastas and macaroni, Cooking Oil, Canned fruits, baby formula, Sugar, and canned meats. To donate or volunteer at one of these centers, dial 678-892-6165, and more support is always needed.
The goal of these hunger prevention programs in both central and northern Georgia is to provide access to good nutritional food for the increasing number of at-risk children, seniors, and really entire households. There are many other services provided in the support centers, and resources are provided for a reducing welfare dependency, assisting families in their pursuit of a higher degree of self-sufficiency and affording them a new degree of stability.
Temporary and transitional housing from Saint Vincent is for female clients, single parents, children, and even veterans. Assistance will be offered to people in their desire to take active steps in improving and changing their life situations. Two of the centers are known as House of Dreams and other housing unit is the Kennesaw Georgia based St. Michael’s House. People using the centers also receive assistance with free food, meals, job placement clothing and other needs.
There are several Thrift Stores located across Georgia too. Society of St. Vincent de Paul opens these sites to the general public, and they sell gently used, but affordable, furniture, clothing, holiday toys, housewares, Books, Glassware, Linens, Bicycles, Eyeglasses and more. In some cases, a store or church gives an individual a free voucher, and these allow clients to get free school clothing, housewares, and gifts at one of the stores.
Federal and state of Georgia Benefit Screening and Income Tax Preparation is offered in partnership with social service offices as well as the Atlanta Prosperity Campaign. Saint Vincent de Paul and its staff will provide federal income tax preparation at no cost, and help people apply for up to 15 benefits such as SNAP food stamps, disability, section 8, LifeLine, LIHEAP, PeachCare for Kids, and many others.
The service is commonly known as EarnBenefits, and case managers provide information on options available and process applications. They also assemble documents that are needed by the client, such as proof of Citizenship or Immigration Status, Household Expenses, Income, and Medical Condition.
Short term financial assistance may be distributed for people that participate, and are successful, in the various case management services. There may be funds for Rent and housing needs, medical/dental/prescriptions, Transportation, utility bills, food, and even burial costs. A combination of government grants and private donations are used for these programs.
Long term self-sufficiency and education is part part of a service known as Opportunities to Excel. Staff from Saint Vincent will work with struggling families in Georgia to help them improve their Life Skills. This touches upon job search, mock interviews, GED, English as a Second Language for immigrants, and similar support. Much of this is offered from community partnerships with Workforce Centers, colleges, and educational institutions.
Credit and debt counseling is available in partnership with CredAbility, one of the nation's leading non-profit organizations. A number of services are available by the charity, as noted below. If the client's income is low enough, then some of their services are provided for free.
The Economic Journey Service is offered as part of case management. The goal is to help families gain self-sufficiency when it comes to their finances. Those enrolled will learn how to improve their income, save money, and improve their credit, among many other topics. Additional workshops sponsored by the Society in Georgia include how to secure a fair-priced mortgage, Shopping Smart at the Grocery Store, saving for retirement, paying off car loans, and similar services.
Partnering with non-profits and private businesses across Georgia, SVDP runs an on-the-job educational training service. This gives clients key skills, and in some cases for those that do a good job and show their worth, it can even lead to a full time role. The goal is to offer guidance and support to individuals that will help them attain a level of independence, stability, and success.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia offers low income families and the elderly the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. It is offered for free to low to moderate income residents, and is fully supported by the Internal Revenue Service . There is assistance for people who cannot prepare their own tax returns.
As part of the process, IRS certified and trained volunteers, sponsored by organizations such as the AARP, help prepare basic tax returns and help working families with special tax credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Credit for the Elderly, and Child Tax Credit for which they may qualify. VITA sites are generally located across Georgia counties at libraries, churches, community and neighborhood centers, schools, shopping malls, post offices, and other locations. Call 678-892-6163.
For more information, or referrals to local SvdP affiliated churches, call 678-892-6163. A help line can direct applicants to services that they may be able to apply to.
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