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Social Services

Programs

Having begun in 1988 in a little corner of the Coeur d’Alene thrift store, St. Vincent de Paul’s Social Service Office has grown to be the heart of our agency and the entry point for most of our self-sufficiency programs. Located in the H.E.L.P. Center, 201 E Harrison, Coeur d’Alene, this office sees into the neediest corners of Kootenai County, offering assistance regardless of a person’s faith, culture, or background. Staff members extend aid to very low-income and homeless individuals and families through financial assistance, information, and referrals while offering individualized attention combined with understanding, compassion, and the knowledge that all people are worthy and deserving of kindness and love.

While we specialize in serving the homeless and those at-risk of homelessness, we also serve the disabled, victims of domestic abuse, veterans in need, at-risk youth, and the elderly. We offer a wide array of housing and self-sufficiency services and programs with the belief that those who seek help need a hand up and not a hand out. With this a cornerstone principle, all of the services we offer are geared towards teaching self-reliance.

The services and programs that fall within our Social Service branch are:

Emergency Assistance

St. Vincent de Paul has been offering emergency assistance to those in need for over 60 years. This has always been one of the cornerstones to our agency and still remains one of our main social service programs today. Whether it is for clothing, blankets, household goods, a motel or gas voucher, hygiene products, a bus ticket, or a hot meal, homeless and low-income people throughout North Idaho can come to us for help.

Emergency assistance is available through our main Social Service Office.

Emergency Shelter

Since 1990, St. Vincent de Paul has been offering emergency shelter to the area’s homeless. It started with the opening of our shelter for men — the only one in North Idaho to serve homeless men — in a renovated house directly behind our Coeur d’Alene thrift store. Then, two years later, another house just down the street from the men’s shelter was purchased for a women and children’s shelter.

Each shelter provides a clean, safe atmosphere with enough space to sleep twelve guests per night. Each guest also receives two meals per day and has the opportunity to receive information and referrals to needed services, job counseling, and life skills classes. While at the shelter guests volunteer time at the thrift store and do needed chores at the shelter. They also have up to 7 days to find employment and are required to save half of their income so they will have money available for their own residence.

Our shelters are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and guests can stay for up to 30 days. Both are also drug and alcohol free (as are all St. Vincent facilities) and guests are expected to be substance free on or off the premises. Our goal is that when a guest leaves our shelter they are moving into a stable situation.

Community Dining Hall

As the only dining hall for the hungry and homeless in Kootenai County that provides nutritious meals five days a week, St. Vincent de Paul’s “Community Dining Hall” provides free dinner Monday through Friday from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at St. Vincent’s meeting room behind the Coeur d’Alene thrift store. While each meal is free and available to anyone, donations can also be given at the door and are always welcome!

Case Management

Case Management services are a way to help clients be accountable for their own lives, as well as the assistance they receive. Working with a skilled Case Manager, clients build an individualized case plan that maps out their goals and their path to success and self-reliance. Case Managers offer support, direction, referrals, and accountability, while meeting with clients as often as necessary.

Housing for Veterans

According to the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), it is estimated that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night and nearly 400,000 experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served this country. Veterans account for 23% of all homeless people in America, with 45% suffering from mental illness, and half having substance abuse problems. More than 67% served our country for at least three years and 33% were stationed in a war zone.

While the veteran’s in our transitional housing program receive the same services as other clients, we work to provide more specialized services that meet their unique needs. We collaborate with the VA in Spokane to provide case management that incorporates mental, physical, and substance abuse health services to better help these veterans succeed in obtaining and keeping permanent housing.

Veterans Counseling & Service Center

St. Vincent de Paul’s Veterans Service Center aids veterans and their families in their times of need, as well as helps with any concerns regarding educational benefits and entitlements. Veterans can receive the same services that our non-veteran homeless and low-income clients receive, such as emergency assistance, food, shelter, and housing; however, we will also provide assistance with other V.A. related items. A Case Manager copies veterans related documents, provides secretarial help with V.A. communication, assists an unemployed veteran with a job search, and maintains a file of their important documents. Transportation to the V.A. medical center in Spokane for medical treatment is also available.

PAYEE SERVICES

For clients who need help budgeting their monthly bills, St. Vincent de Paul offers Payee Services. By signing St. Vincent up as an approved payee, clients can feel secure knowing that their income will be managed responsibly and their monthly bills will be paid each month on time, every time. While most clients who utilize Payee Services receive Social Security payments, any client who has a steady income is eligible for this financial management program.   For more information click on this link Payee Flyer 2014.docx

Career Counseling

St. Vincent de Paul’s Caring Career Counseling Program teaches clients the skills they need to succeed in the world of work and become self-reliant. Through both one-on-one career counseling and work-readiness workshops, the Caring Career Counseling Program gives clients insight into their skills and how they fit in the job market. Clients also learn the skills needed to land a job including filling out job applications, preparing resumes, and performing well in job interviews. After clients find jobs, the program follows up to ensure they successfully meet their employers’ expectations.

Housing First

Housing First is an approach to ending homelessness that centers on providing homeless people with housing quickly and then providing services as needed. A different approach from traditional emergency shelter or transitional housing, the Housing First model is “housing-based,” with an immediate and primary focus on helping individuals and families quickly access and sustain permanent housing followed by case management and social services. By using this approach, we have the benefit of being consistent with what most people experiencing homelessness want and seek help to achieve.

ICARE - Parent Information Resource Center

Keeping children safe and families strong!

Parenting is one of the toughest and most important jobs we will ever do, and we all have a stake in the outcome. Research shows that parents who have the tools, resources and support they need are more likely to raise safe, healthy and productive children.

Towards that end, ICARE offers an array of best-practice parenting classes including Nurturing Parenting and Nurturing Fathers. These classes are offered at Transitional Housing and in elementary schools around Kootenai County. Additionally we host a fun and engaging parent support group. A best-practice child sexual abuse prevention class available as well.

The heart of the ICARE Program is our Home Visits. Our nationally certified parent educators can do a series of individualized Home Visits to better meet the needs of specific high risk families. Strengthening families benefits us all.

The ICARE Program is dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect and committed to making Kootenai County a better, safe place for our most precious resources – our children.

Housed at the new H.E.L.P. Center, 201 E. Harrison Ave., ICARE also has resources for children and families and offers links to other community resources.

For more information on the ICARE Program, contact Katie Simmons at 208-676-1515, ext. 315, or  katie@stvincentdepaulcda.org

Website: www.icareforchildren.org

USDA Child Care Food Program

St. Vincent de Paul administers a U.S. Department of Agriculture Child Care Food Program designed to provide children in day care with nutritious food on a regular basis. For many children, these meals are a primary source of the nutrition they need to grow strong and healthy.

We work with both in-home daycare providers, as well as daycare centers, to ensure they offer meals and snacks that provide the vitamins and minerals children need. To help these providers afford to provide healthy meals, while still charging reasonable rates for child care, the Child Care Food Program reimburses providers for the cost of the food.

To participate in the Child Care Food Program, a daycare provider must be licensed, serve meals and snacks that meet USDA guidelines, and maintain good records.

For more information about the Child Care Food Program (CCFP), please contact the Program Director, Deanna Jeffres at 208-664-2562 or by email at deanna@stvincentdepaulcda.org. The CCFP office is located in the H.E.L.P. Center 201 E Harrison, Coeur d’Alene.

Legal Link

Local attorneys volunteer their time to provide free legal consultations at our weekly Legal Link clinic. The basis of the program is to offer lower-income people information on what resources are available to assist them with their legal issues. Legal Link’s attorneys help inform clients about the law and their rights as it relates to their concerns, and helps them decide what direction they should take in their legal matters. By giving them good legal information, Legal Link empowers people to make better choices.

Fashions For Your Future

When you need a job, the first impression you make is everything, which is why St. Vincent de Paul created Fashions for Your Future. Fashions gives job seekers the resources they need to get off on the right foot with a potential employer. A job interview starts the instant the job seeker walks through the door, and to be taken seriously they need the right look.

Fashions is a two-hour workshop where we furnish each participant with:

  • a personal shopper
  • free clothing
  • free instruction on how to use cosmetics in the workplace
  • interview tips
  • career counseling

After attending our Fashions for Your Future program, job applicants can interview with confidence.

Agency Networking & Collaboration

Having been in the North Idaho region for over 60 years, St. Vincent de Paul has a vast knowledge of other agencies and programs that are available in our community. We attend meetings, hold memberships in various local groups, and work daily with other providers on our clients’ behalf. As with all non-profits and government entities, we see ourselves as stewards of the community’s generous donations and we feel it is our responsibility to network and collaborate with other service providers to help ensure our clients’ success, as well as prevent the duplications of services in our area.

Art on the Edge

Art on the Edge (AOE) is a non-profit art program provided by St. Vincent de Paul for community youth. In 1994, AOE was born in the shelters of St. Vincent de Paul to provide homeless children an opportunity to express themselves through art. Since then, our program has expanded to include all community youth ages 6-18 and has worked with over 1,500 children.

Art on the Edge engages youth and the community through after-school classes, public art, and festivals, with the mission to “provide a creative environment for all youth using art as a tool for learning problem-solving, goal-setting, community values, and increased self esteem.” We base this on these key ideas:

  • Art is an essential and valuable experience for children and our community.
  • Art projects focus on the creative process.
  • Art on the Edge provides a safe and nurturing environment for children to grow and thrive.
  • Public art and festivals, which integrate art and youth, have the potential to change lives and enhance our community. 
  • Healthy communities are supported by investing in art and children.

Art on the Edge provides after school classes three days a week as well as a full summer program.  We are now offering Adult pottery classes and art workshops.  

For more information on (or to volunteer for) Art on the Edge, please call the Program Director, Jeni or visit the Art on the Edge website at www.artontheedge.org.

Youth Mentoring Program

The homeless families who come to St. Vincent’s Transitional Housing Program are out of choices — either because of financial hardships, wrong decisions, or other unfortunate circumstances. And, along with their parents, the children of these families have desires for a better life!

The objective of our Youth Mentoring Program is to foster opportunities that develop in these children positive behaviors and skills that help broaden their horizons. While parents are taking life skills and parenting classes that teach them how to make better choices, strengthen their families, and become self-sufficient, we supervise and engage the children in activities that build their competence, confidence, connection, and character; activities that promote specific academic or hands-on skills, improve their self-esteem and sense of identity, and teach them how to relate better with peers, parents, teachers, and other people in their lives.

Along with the hard work and dedication of volunteers and others in the community, we have created an optimistic template for the future of these children.