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A family shops at the Sts. Joachim and Ann food pantry in St. Charles.

All Sam wants for Christmas is a home. 

While many 12-year-old boys are dreaming of the latest Xbox One game or a new iPhone under the tree, Sam was hoping his mom Lisa can find a place to call home for him and his 4-year-old sister. The family of three had been couch surfing for weeks, when Lisa came to Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service in Lincoln County in search of a permanent home for her family.

Driven by its mission “to serve those in crisis and to prevent homelessness and hunger,” Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service works with the most vulnerable families and individuals in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties to address the individual needs of each family in crisis through its integrated programs and services. The Care Service can provide financial housing and utility assistance through its Housing Assistance Program to help families avoid an eviction, prevent a utility disconnect, or pay for a deposit on a new home. The annual Adopt-A-Family program provides holiday gifts for needy families in December. A Street Outreach team hits the streets four times a week to assist homeless individuals and families with basic survival and emergency needs while determining physical/mental health issues, with the ultimate goal of permanent housing placement. 

When Lisa and her children came to the Care Service in Lincoln County, the family participated in the Children and Family Development (CFD) Program, which provides families with children who are homeless or are at-risk of becoming homeless with comprehensive case management. CFD families first receive a full assessment of needs – physical, mental, emotional – which focuses on identifying specific challenges for each family while paying close attention to neglect risk factors. Lisa was assigned a social service worker who helped the young mom search for housing in Lincoln County and advocate to landlords on her behalf. Her social worker met with the family weekly to work on goals, link to resources, and provide support to assist in stabilization. Families in the CFD program also often receive financial housing assistance, and the Lincoln office keeps emergency food and hygiene items in stock for those in need.

“With limited-to-no shelter space available in the area, providing financial housing assistance and client-centered case management through Care Service programs to house these homeless individuals is imperative,” said Pam Struckhoff, director of program services. 

Funding for the Care Service is continually sought from local, regional, state, and federal government agencies, private foundations and corporate giving programs. The Care Service also seeks funding through community special events, and individual donations, as well as in-kind volunteer and material support from within the community. The agency currently has NAP tax credits available for small businesses in the area.

“The Lincoln County community has always been a big supporter of Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service,” Struckhoff said. “Toyota Bodine, Mercy and the Lincoln County Resource Board and others have been generous in their support of our agency, and it is through partnerships like these that we are able to assist thousands of individuals each year.” 

Sam will get his Christmas wish this year. Lisa and her family found a place to call home. 

“Often, the Care Service is the ‘agency of last resort,’ as many other area agencies can only provide short-term and emergency assistance,” Struckhoff said. “With a focus on creating long-term sustainability and facilitating self-sufficiency for these families, the Care Service is one of few agencies in the area equipped to provide the intensive case management and long-term rental assistance necessary for lasting housing stabilization.”

For more information, contact Development Associate Donna Tobin at (636) 441-1302, ext. 300 or dtobin@jacares.org.

 

Names of individuals have been changed to protect their privacy

 

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