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Assistance from Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest.

The focus of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest is on assisting low income families and seniors in Arizona. While most of the aid is for income qualified residents in Maricopa County, Phoenix, and Tucson, others in the state can get help as well.

Countless social services are administered. Assistance is generally focused on dealing with issues such as housing, seniors, and the youth. The organization is part of the nationwide volunteer network and they have been helping people across the region for a number of years. Many programs and emergency services are delivered in partnership with churches, the local Lutheran congregations, faith - based and community organizations, and federal government, state and local government agencies.

Much of the aid is offered under the name of a program known as Community Development. The organization engages struggling families, individuals, and congregations in the progression of economic, social and health needs. Lutheran Services of the Southwest, or LSS-SW, will also coordinate asset development activities that build and lead to long term community empowerment.

First Things First is a key Lutheran Service partner organization. It is also offered with the North Phoenix Regional Council as well as the Southeast Maricopa Regional Council. This is for low income families with children under the age of 5. It can provide them with assistance such as developmental playgroups, assistance to locate information and community resources, and even parenting classes. Families that use the First Things First program will be able to explore knowledge, resources and get support that will help their children be school ready.

Housing assistance is part of the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (I-HELP). This is offered in partnership with churches, the Mesa United Way, community based organizations and The City of Mesa. They work together to provide food, lodging, comfort, hope and opportunity for the homeless, in particular women, that live in Mesa Arizona and the East Valley

Not only will housing issues be dealt with. I-HELP also provides people with additional supportive services such as clothing, case management, job training and employment services to homeless single women and parents. Clients that are served through the Lutheran Social Services program are encouraged to develop Life Plans and work towards stability. This will involve the creation of attainable goals leading to a greater level of self sufficiency.





JobNet for Neighbors can address employment needs for either the under or unemployed. Staff from LSS-SW will work with clients and offer counsel, personalized assistance and guidance for the unemployed or underemployed individuals. Some of what is offered may be resume preparation, career assessment and aptitude testing, job leads, resource materials and networking are offered in Maricopa County and Tucson Arizona.

Not only that, but Lutheran Services and the JobNet program is also linked to Pima County One-Stop and Maricopa County Workforce Connection centers. Staff provide client access and training to databases on effective use of resources and information of job openings.

Arizona Youth Partnership (AzYP) and other groups run the Building Futures for Families. This is provided in the form or free or low cost Job and Career Development. It is provided by trained, friendly and professional staff to those that qualify. If and when needed, Spanish speaking staff are available. The AzYP program includes job placement, resume building, job searching skills, assessment, free interview coaching, and access to emergency assistance resources.

The regional Food Bank is part of the Partners in Caring Food Program. This is available in Maricopa County. Across the region, non-profit community agencies, donors and volunteers collaborate to provide groceries and emergency food assistance to low-income individuals, the elderly, and families. Volunteers from Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest will assemble and distribute food supplied by congregations and community food pantries.

The Nutrition Services operates in Pima County. It is for senior citizens and the elderly. The program, using a Meals on Wheels, service, will deliver the homebound what they need. The meals, may of which are free, will be low salt and healthy and meets one-third of the recommended dietary allowances for seniors.

The program is for people from the community that are 60 years of age or older or that are married to someone that qualifies. They also need to have at least two functional limitations in activities of daily living. Lutheran Services trained drivers deliver frozen and chilled meals while making valuable daily health and safety checks on each recipient.





Additional emergency assistance is coordinated too. This is often available for those that use the food pantry above. For those that qualify, Lutheran Services partners with partners to provide emergency rental and utility bill assistance to those in crisis.

The Alternative to Detention program is for youth. It was created to serve as an alternative to detention for community youth under the age of 17. Lutheran Services of the SW is heavily involved with Pima County Juvenile Court Center. Programs include Independent Living Skills (such as expressing feelings, problem solving, values, listening, communication, conflict management and teamwork), Tutoring/GED Study, Life Skills (money management, computer training, cooking, basic law), Community Restitution Work Component, and also Cognitive Skills Training as well as Pre-vocational and/or Vocation Instruction

Services for the Aging and Disabled from LSS-SW Division coordinate assistance for adults with disabilities and seniors through the In-Home Care Services program. The non-profit is strongly committed to promoting the independence, dignity, and also the quality of life for families and individuals from Arizona.

The program, known as Luminaria, offers those that qualify with access to the finest quality care that enables the frail elderly, disabled and senior citizens to live at home and maintain their highest level of independence. What is available includes comprehensive care, advice, referrals, and support in navigating the complex maze of social service and health care options available to them. This is available in several counties, including Gila, Pima, and Pinal.




Luminaria will also offer Grocery shopping / errands, Transportation to appointments, Meal preparation, Medication reminders, Bathing / dressing / grooming, and Family respite. It operates in Pinal, Maricopa, Gila, Pima, Santa Cruz, Greenlee, Graham and Cochise counties in Arizona.

Not only will In-Home Care be available, but staff from Lutheran Services also offer training for Family Caregivers. Whether you are supporting an elderly or disabled family member, training is offered.

The main locations are as follows. However note the programs are offered across the state. 5049 E. Broadway Blvd. Suite 102, Tucson, Arizona 85711. Call 877.258.2059. Or another center is at 1525 N. Power Rd, Mesa, Arizona 85205. Phone 480-396-3795.


By Jon McNamara

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