A year ago, the Lafayette Urban Ministry completed a major evaluation of our homeless
We found that many of our guests are addicted to drugs or alcohol and have burned bridges with family and friends. Some struggle with mental illness which prevents them from holding a job or leasing an apartment. Some of our guests are victims of domestic abuse. We identified shelter guests recently released from prison who, when searching for work, were routinely passed over by prospective employers. Still others with chronic illness or physical disability are without the means to care for themselves.
While appreciative of LUM’s overnight shelter, our guests were desperately in need of greater help to get off the street and out of our shelter as quickly as possible.
So as a result of our evaluation, the Lafayette Urban Ministry has implemented several changes to our program aimed at better serving our homeless guests. Among the changes:
- LUM staff members now meet each day with each guest of our shelter. We work together with our guests to develop a plan to help each individual move off the streets and out of our shelter. We suggest daily activities to help that guest meet their housing goal and daily review their progress. Shelter guests know that LUM isn’t just a place to stay at night, but a place that is actively engaged in helping them to move on to something better during the day.
- Nightly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are now offered at the LUM shelter. The meetings are run by leaders in our local AA community who have a special commitment to supporting homeless individuals in their recovery from alcohol addiction. As many as 10 shelter guests participate in LUM’s AA meeting on any given night.
- We have redoubled our efforts to reconnect certain guests with the support of family and friends and have shown positive results.
- We have provided matching grants to homeless individuals receiving public assistance or employment income as an incentive to help them move more quickly from our shelter into a home of their own.
- We now offer a Winter Warming Station between November 15 and April 15 to ensure added protection against the elements for homeless individuals. Last winter, 162 different individuals used the LUM warming station a combined 629 times.
- We have made a significant investment in security personnel and equipment at the LUM shelter to guarantee the continued safety of our guests, volunteers and staff.
In the past year, LUM has served 622 homeless individuals in our shelter. They stayed with us a combined 8,232 overnights. As a result of the new changes at the shelter, LUM has seen an increase in the number of shelter guests leaving our facility for a home of their own, along with a corresponding decrease in the number of days our shelter is needed to be used by our guests. Over the past 12 months, the average stay of a LUM shelter guest has dropped from 18 to 13 nights.
I hope you are as excited as I am at the changes that have been made and by the positive impact those changes are having in the lives of those we serve. The Lafayette Urban Ministry is providing more than just a well-run, safe and secure shelter for homeless individuals. We are helping with the tools our guests need to move off the streets of Lafayette, and into a home of their own.
Please, won’t you support this important work with your dollars?
Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 will help to keep LUM’s shelter open and staffed and will help us to provide our homeless guests with the support they need to leave our shelter for a home of their own.
Perhaps you’ve contributed to the LUM shelter by serving as an overnight volunteer or volunteer meal provider. Perhaps you’ve been supportive through your prayers and words of encouragement. My hope now is that you will join me in supporting LUM’s shelter program with a generous financial gift as well.
PS – Place your check in the mail or drop it off in our office today. Or, you may give online, click HERE.