Emergency assistance is available from the Good Samaritan Ministry. The staff from the non-profit will offer applicants solutions for their basic needs, such as food or clothing, as well as more substantial support, including for rent or utility bills. Assistance is available in St. Tammany Parish from a combination of government funding as well as charity sources.
A key service from the Slidell Louisiana based agency is the staff offering referrals. This is a fast and efficient way for people from St. Tammany Parish to obtain basic information. There are dozens of social service agencies in the region, including in Mandeville and Lacombe. They range from pantries to community clinics for health care needs and senior centers. People from the community can get information on clothing, food, care for senior citizens or child care and more. There are local service providers who can address a variety of needs.
Good Samaritan Ministry also has information on agencies such as the United Way, which is the central clearinghouse for social service information. Many different groups work together to offer individuals information on resources available to working poor households or the underemployed. Professionally trained staff and even volunteers identify and asses a client's need. Based on that, they will refer to the appropriate services, whether non-profits or government benefits.
Specialists have information on local churches, government bodies, civic groups, legal aid and medical organizations. Or learn about public benefits such as TANF or cash aid. There eligibility requirements set by each of these independent groups, and funding is limited. However, they will try to serves anyone who calls and requests information.
Good Samaritan Ministry can coordinate applications to financial assistance. One resource, Emergency Food and Shelter, offers grants for housing costs such as rent, mortgages, or security deposits. The assistance will be for income qualified persons based upon their unemployment or poverty status, and all funding is approved annually by a local governing board.
EFS as it is known provides one-time crisis assistance to households. The money will normally be for housing costs, and generally rent or mortgage. It combines a number of different funding sources including United Way of St. Tammany Parish, CSBG, and Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG). Client applications are reviewed by ministry staff and approved based on a number of criteria.
While terms and conditions can change, in general, program expenditures are limited to meals, food, shelter (free motel/hotel vouchers), rent or mortgage assistance and utility bill assistance. Local Boards, such as the United Way and others, are then convened and partner with Good Samaritan Ministry.
The program is reassessed each and every year in an effort to adapt to community needs and demands. The criteria used will vary, but in general there will be funds or loans as a form of rental assistance to individuals or families with a five-day eviction notice. They will also require verification of income as well as employment.
Self-sufficiency or case management from Good Samaritan Ministry will require a comprehensive assessment of the client's needs. The process may last from several weeks to months. The Case Manager assists the applicant in the process of accessing services to meet their needs for independent living. Activities may include, but are not limited to, goal setting and the development of an action plan. It touches upon employment, credit counseling, and many other factors, with ongoing follow-up, monitoring and evaluation. Client sign an agreement with Good Samaritan Ministry to participate and work toward goals.
Income eligible households in the parish and Slidell, especially those with children, may receive vouchers for clothing and or household items. This is mostly for work or school reasons. Also, families may be screened for several area food pantries. This will provide them groceries, formula, and access to public aid such as SNAP food stamps. The application process is extensive. However, when it comes to using a food bank, exceptions may be made for emergencies and extenuating circumstances. So the process can be accelerated.
Help for paying utility bills may be available. This can come from many sources, including LlHEAP Energy Assistance. Good Samaritan Ministry will try to provide qualifying individuals assistance in meeting their utility bills, whether it is water, electric, cooling or heating. Funding is provided by many different sources, including the Department of Health and Human Services.
Any funding will generally be available as a one time benefit. The amount of the grant offered for bills is determined by household size, income, fuel type and geographic location. Applicants will need proof of income and having a utility bill in the head of household's name. Also, if someone has an outstanding energy bill preventing them from getting utilities on in your name, they may be eligible. Both tenants and homeowners can apply as well.
Some basic health are needs may be met by Good Samaritan Ministry. There can be vouchers or referrals to programs for prescription eyeglasses, dental fees, and supplies. This will normally be for income qualified patients on the brink of poverty, or that lack insurance or access to Medicaid. There is also information available on local community clinics.
For more details, Good Samaritan Ministry can be reached at 910 Cross Gates Boulevard in Slidell (phone 985-641-6421) or a center at 402 Girod Street in Mandeville (telephone 985-626-4594).
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