Providing basic needs of shelter and food is a top goal of Mustard Seed. The charity organization and volunteers from the greater St. Lucie County community raise money from the region and then provide support to income qualified families. They also coordinate with regional non-profits and can help working poor families apply for government aid and other resources.
The main programs from the charity are below. All resources are limited and will have a strict application process, that will include, but is not limited too, proof of income, hardship, and family members.
Self-sufficiency including employment from Mustard Seed of Fort Pierce
Staff from Mustard Seed can help the under and unemployed find a job, or gain new skills. There are computer labs across St. Lucie at neighborhood sites or workforce one centers. The locations allow clients to access computers and work on the activities that are part of the proceed. Specifics include the following.
Some of the long term unemployed, or those that face challenges in reentering the job market, can also get help. There are resources in Saint Luce County such as the Senior Community Service Employment Program which places low-income seniors, age 55 and older, into subsidized, part-time community service training opportunities. This will give them a small income, but more importantly, allow them to gain the skills they need to find and retain unsubsidized employment.
Case management services from the charity will help low-income individuals, the working poor and other families identify and work towards goals for self-sufficiency. This is available from volunteers as well as dedicated case managers that work at Mustard Seed. They will work with families over time to remove barriers to improving their education or finding a new job, and the process will help clients access resources and benefits.
Much of this support is available from referrals to partner organizations in the community. As an example, these services can help parents find childcare so they can attend work or training. Or the case management will help the client enroll in a vocational training program, obtain health insurance in the private marketplace, and to accomplish an array of other goals.
The process can also help families that are enrolled in early childhood services create a secure and nurturing environment. They will explore a number of parenting, education and economic success programs. As participants set a goal with staff members from Mustard Seed of Fort Pierce, and then after they accomplish it, they will reach even higher levels on your way to a dependable future.
This is always in high demand, but of course will be limited. Applicants will normally need to have some form of income as the financial aid is one time only. So if Mustard Seed helps with say a partial rent payment, the applicants needs to be able to sustain that expense on their own over time.
Basic needs may be met. There may be assistance in obtaining clothing in an emergency or gently used furniture, including for people impacted by a disaster such as a fire. There is also help from the charity and its volunteers families with infants or young children, or for those who have recently moved into a new apartment.
Grants may be available in Saint Lucie from the Emergency Food and Shelter, which is federally funded. Non-profits in the region will try to assist persons based upon their unemployment or poverty status, as long as the crisis they are faced with is one time only. Client applications are reviewed and approved based on a number of criteria.
If there are funds available, which is rare, then this program provides a one-time financial assistance to households. The money can be used for back rent or mortgage, and in some years, the program combines a number of different funding sources. There may be money available from the United Way, Emergency Food & Shelter Program, CSBG sources, and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG).
This is only available as a restricted federal grant. Program expenditures are limited to hot meals, shelter (even including motel or hotel vouchers), heating bills, or housing such as rent/mortgage. In general, the criteria used by Mustard Seed is that we will provide emergency rental assistance to individuals or families with a five-day eviction notice. Or in some cases, loans will be issued after verification of employment or motel stays to homeless individuals or families. Local Boards across the state of Florida perform audits and ensure the federal money is only used for approved expenses.
Mustard Seed will have information on other housing solutions in the region. They include HOPWA for clients with AID or HIV related medical issues, section 8 vouchers for the very low income, and shelters. Veterans in the county can also get help from SSVF, if they are faced with homelessness. There may be help for people residing in a group shelter, the disabled, and those that are near homeless.
A focus is on the currently homeless. This will be those that meet the traditional definition, which includes the following. There is assistance for women living in a domestic violence shelter, people leaving a hospital with no place to reside, or families residing in a hotel or motel paid for with public or charitable funds. Funds for deposits or first months rent may be for families that need housing to allow reunification with children or those moving to a more affordable home.
A food pantry is also available in Fort Pierce, and Mustard Seed and its churches may have groceries, diapers, and other items for the needy. There are also seasonal programs around Thanksgiving as well as Christmas, such as meals and small gifts.
Mustard Seed is based at 8311 S. US Highway 1, Port St. Lucie, Florida 34952. Dial (772) 465-6021.
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