The Shepherd's LightHouse, Inc.

Click here to edit subtitle

        Business Overview

          

Shepherd’s Lighthouse, Inc.

Our Mission:

Dedicated to helping people in need.

Our purpose:

Our greatest accomplishment is to help people to navigate through life’s storms by, rescuing, empowering, and renewing their lives. Lighting the way to become self-sufficient productive people in society. Creating a safe atmosphere of faith, family and friends.

Our core values:

·         Passion

·         Believing

·         Encouraging

·         Community

Located in the heart of Belleview

5930 SE Robinson Road, Belleview, Florida 34420

Phone number 352-347-6575 Fax number 352-347-1775

www.theshepherdslighthouse.org

Staff:

Yolanda East- Executive Director

Theresa Chambers -Case Manager

Jennifer Proctor- Administrative Assistant

Board of Directors:

Don Darley, Board Chairman

Mersha Edwards

Virginia Higginbotham

Cheryl Johnson

Jim Johnson

Will Moore

Kathryn Thomas

Angie Torres

Our Transitional Housing program:

Placement Criteria

·         The client will need to be a single mother over 21 years old with children infant to nine years old.

·         The client cannot be in a domestic violence crisis

·         The client cannot be in a substance abuse crisis

What do we offer our clients?

·         A private room for them and their children to stay in for up to 6 months

·         Large kitchen where they can prepare their family meals and storage space to keep their food.

·         Safe play areas for their children to enjoy play time.

·         Computer access for them to use to apply for employment and stay connected with employers.

·         Individual life goal plan designed only for them so that they can become successful in all avenues of their life.

·         Life Coach Counselor to do an assessment that will help them set goals and help them make the right decisions to move them forward in their life.

·         Basic life skill classes these include but not limited to parenting, budgeting, discipline, child development, decision making, and relationship. Each class will be designed to their individual needs.

·         We provide transportation for them and their child to work, daycare, Dr. Appointments, store or any other appointment that will advance them in a positive direction.

·         If they are working a DCF case plan we will provide a Life Coach to go with them to court appointments and will work directly with their case worker to complete their plan.

·         To better serve our clients we have to ask that they respect our timelines. We start our day at 6:00 am so that all children can be transported to childcare and residents can be transported to work.

·         We ask that due to everyone getting a chance to use the kitchen for food preparation we ask that our clients be on campus at 6:30 pm.

·         Children need to be fed, bathed and ready for bed by 8:00pm. This will give the mothers some mommy time to focus on their goal list and down time.

·         Due to living in a residential area we respect our neighbors and ask that everyone be in bed and lights out by 10:00pm.

·         For safety of their children and other children at the facility we do not allow visitors in our client’s rooms, no using of drugs other than prescription medication, no use of alcohol, no weapons are allowed in your possession, and we ask that all family and friends provide a picture ID when on campus.

·         We ask that if our clients are corresponding with others in jail that they use another address.  

·         We do not allow cell phones in the resident area due to taking pictures of others and recording of others without their permission. We live in the world of social media and not everyone wants their picture of their children blasted on such sites. They can keep them in the office and they will be allowed to check messages during the day.

Other social services we provide to our community and south Marion County

Shepherd’s LightHouse is much more that housing for homeless mothers and children.

·         We help families and individuals to fill out access Florida applications. This enables them to receive government funding and food stamps.

·         We are certified in SSI and SSDI application process and have helped people receive these funds. The SSDI and SSI application involve a long application process and collecting of documentation from other sources. It takes many hours to follow up on this application due to being available to the caseworkers that are working on the case.

·         We can refer clients to Early Learning Coalition for reduced childcare cost. When we refer clients for reduced childcare cost they have to follow up with us monthly and we have to report any changes in their income status.

·         Supportive housing was and is a great need in the South end of the county. We were given the opportunity to provide this service through a grant from the county. We were able to remodel and create such housing behind Aunt Fannies restaurant in Belleview. We manage these 6 one bedroom 1 bath supportive housing units and they are an asset to the neighborhood. Theses apartments allow families to pay reduced rent payments while working on increasing their income to move into permanent housing. While the families live there we are able to provide case management that connects them to services.

·         Our Thrift store not only provides us with regular income it provides volunteer opportunities for the community. We have volunteer hours available for individuals and for groups. The store also provides a means for our clients to learn skills such as customer service, displaying and cashiering. This also gives our clients a work history. Our store is competitive in the pricing so that needy families are able to purchase things at a reasonable cost. Our store generates opportunities for us to receive in kind donations that we can sale, reuse and recycle. The store is an asset that keeps us connected with the community and an avenue to reach other families in need. We offer service hours to Career Resource Center clients these clients are people that need to do community service hours to continue to receive cash assistance. These clients also are able to do job searches and get retail experience. Experience Works clients are clients that are 55 and older that have to do community service hours so that they can keep receiving their subsides income. These workers bring knowledge and ideas to us and others. The volunteers and community service workers save us $31,700.00 in kind money by doing these services. We also save $4000.00 to $6000.00 on yard work and maintenance that is done by groups with service projects. By getting these groups doing these in kind services we are able to keep our yearly budget low.

·         During back to school we are able to help 30 children receive school supplies. We help our clients provide the teachers with supplies for the class rooms. We work closely with the caseworkers and guidance counselors to provide any homeless child with things that they may need during the year.

·         In December we help at least 30-50 children receive gifts from families that want to help others. We are able to connect the two together so that each child receives something.  This time of the year our staff delivers and picks up many gifts for needy families. We are able to get new clothes and shoes for children and age appropriate toys. For two years we have being able to do the Santa Kubby table at Light Up Lake Lillian event in Belleview. At this event we are able to provide low cost items that children can buy for their family. This gives us an opportunity to become visible in our community while passing out Shepherds Lighthouse information. Our staff serves on the Homeless Coalition. This group assesses the needs of the homeless and is working on productive solutions for the challenges that face us today in Marion County. We are working with the other agencies to develop a universal application that will reduce time to provide services to the clients that we serve. This referral system, when complete, will connect all agencies in the network so that information can be shared. This will help all participating agencies reduce duplicate services.

·         Shepherd’s LightHouse completes all benevolent applications for the Church of Hope in Ocala. During our follow up and assessment we are able to refer people to agencies that has funding to help them. This helps the church divert funds to other mission opportunities.

·         We will be receiving a grant this year that will provide much needed funding for clients that need rental and utility deposits. This grant will help us place our clients into supportive and permeant housing. We will be filling out applications for this funding and case managing these clients so they will become stable and sustainable. 

·         We are the recipients of the United Way funding for the next two years. During the campaign session we share Shepherd’s Lighthouse stories to the community to help generate funding.

·         We provide adult diapers and medical equipment to local nursing homes to their clients that otherwise cannot afford them. We also give sweat suits/jogging suits and lap blankets to these homes during the winter months.

·         Each week we receive bread that feeds our families here and 4 additional families. We also share food with the local nursing homes when available.

What our future holds:

·         We have been asked to be the social service agency for the South End of the County due to the wonderful job that we have been doing with our clients over the years. This service would include helping connect people with much needed services that would help their quality of life.

·         There are plans in the works to look at how we can expand our client target group, not only to help single mothers and their children, but in addition to assess the other needs of our community while taking an active role in being part of the solution.

·         We will continue to seek avenues to become financially sustainable by increasing our fundraising efforts, writing and receiving additional grants and seeking funding from foundations.  We will continue to visit churches, clubs, and civic groups. We will keep the Shepherds Lighthouse name in our community and will always stay focused on the needs of our community.

·         We will increase our individual and business contributions by communicating our needs through event invitations, weekly letters, and doing a funding drive twice a year once in the spring and the fall.

·         We will strengthen our marketing skills to include social media and newspaper online and delivery.

·         We hope to increase our store sales as we have been posting items for sale on different websites. This has brought the items to the consumer which brings the consumer to us. The staff will be visiting other thrift stores in our area and find ways to become aware of what they are doing.

· We are working on a summer strategy to overcome the short falls of store sales and donations when many of our supporters move back North for the summer.

·         Develop a fundraising committee that only deals with raising money for us nothing else.

·         Continuous staff development on time management and productivity.

Shepherd’s LightHouse will remain the voice of South Marion County. We pioneered transitional housing over 10 years ago in South Marion and desire to continue reaching as many people in need as possible. The services of the Lighthouse are like the ocean. It is forever changing and adapting to changes in the environment.  

It has been my pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful heart driven business for the last 14 years my hope is that we are able to keep the light shining here for years to come.

Blessings,

Yolanda East

Executive Director