Today the Director of Southwest Florida Outreach Ministry, Ted Stringer, completed SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, & Recovery training or "SOAR" so we are officially ready to assist. The training specifically targets increasing access to benefits for homeless people. By providing people help with completing the complicated application process, they have a better chance at being eligible for benefits. Receiving SSI/SSDI benefits can be the bridge from crisis to stability through housing, treatment, and other supports. Our goal is always to move beyond helping people through crisis and into helping people build stability and happiness.
This year we have seen an increase in the numbers of homeless individuals and families requesting assistance from our food pantry and outreach center. As of April 26, 2009, we have documented serving 163 homeless individuals, 53 others at high risk of homelessness, and 4 chronic homeless.
We hope to increase access for the people who face additional barriers to service through SOAR and other programs. We also take referrals from partnering human service organizations for delivering food to disabled and homebound individuals when needed. For this purpose the Outreach Center and Food Pantry could really use a van for transporting the food deliveries! If you have a vehicle that you would like to donate or know of other opportunities, please call us at 239-275-1141! We would love to hear from you.