Part of our mission to empower the homeless is to help them learn about health and wellness. For example, we have partnered with ITT Tech’s Nursing program and have interns that visit our facility regularly. We are committed to providing healthy meals for our clients and helping them access the medical care they need. First Stop case managers help clients learn to make healthy decisions and to engage in behaviors that promote physical and mental wellness.
First Stop employs four full-time case managers that help over 140 clients develop and execute individualized plans to help them transition from street homelessness to stable and independent living. Our clients face a broad range of issues such as: unemployment, education, mental illness, substance abuse, transportation issues, childcare, criminal backgrounds, access to healthcare and medication, and much more. First Stop offers classes on budgeting, substance abuse, and basic life skills. We know that effective and individualized case management is the key to helping people transform their lives for the better.
Currently, in Huntsville and Madison County, Alabama, our mental health system is strained due to lack of funding and a high demand for services. Our mental health professionals do outstanding work to help people cope with a variety of mental illnesses, but they can only do so much with limited resources. First Stop helps clients access the mental health services, medications, and treatment that they desperately need but can’t afford.
In Huntsville, we have a myriad of social service agencies, but they are spread throughout our city and, often, only deal with a narrow set of needs. Often, clients feel like they are on a referral merry-go-round. The needs of our homeless population are many and diverse. In fact, many of our clients lack basic ID which prevents them from getting services from many agencies. We help with that, too. At First Stop, our case managers navigate a variety of agencies to link clients to the services they need.
We believe that many of our homeless clients can benefit from a supportive employment environment that can help them learn how to be effective employees in a variety of work settings. Supportive employment features on-site counseling, flexibility, and individualized services for people that need help in the work-place. Many clients, due to chronic substance abuse, mental illness, or felony backgrounds, can’t find work that will help them become self-sufficient. First Stop is working on launching a supported employment program that will empower them to reach their goals.
At First Stop, we help our homeless clients find affordable housing. Clients with qualifying disabilities may eligible for HUD’s Supportive Housing Program or the Huntsville Housing Authority’s voucher program. However, First Stop also helps clients locate other housing throughout the community. Many of our homeless are not disabled and work, but can’t afford high rent deposits or utility deposits. Many have no credit history or poor credit history. First Stop helps people find the resources they need to find decent housing.