Montana Housing Conference May 18-May 19

 

Good Samaritan’s Housing Navigator Chandler Rowling will be presenting two sessions at the conference:

Session 1: Creating Solutions- Montana Mediators Take Action on May 18th 1:00-2:30pm
In this session we will learn how communities in Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Missoula use Certified Mediators and the existing system(s) to help landlords and tenants work out conflict. Panelist will consist of representatives from Montana Mediation Association, the Billings Mediation Center, and Good Samaritan Ministries of Helena. The last 30-minutes will be reserved for questions and further discussion.

In Yellowstone County, the Billings Mediation Center (Conflict Resilience Project) and Montana Mediation Association have partnered with Judge Carter and Judge Walker to use the judicial system to help landlords and tenants work out issues.

In 2020, Good Samaritan Ministries in Helena piloted a Housing Navigation program to serve the workforce housing community members in the Lewis and Clark county. This program connects and engages community members, landlords, property managers, and housing partners to housing services and resources. During COVID 19, Good Samaritan has also successfully offered financial assistance with eviction prevention, rental assistance, and mortgage assistance. Good Samaritan continues to serve the most vulnerable and homeless population.

Speakers
Session 2: Housing Navigation and Community Engagement on May 19th 11-12pm:
This panel session will consist of three housing navigators who work separately in Kalispell, Butte, and Helena. The panelists will begin by briefly explaining what each of them do for their organization and out in the community to provide an understanding what a housing navigator can do because this role can look different across Montana. Then they will be asked a series of questions that will give insight to participants about what they are seeing on the ground with landlords, the housing market, and housing related services.

In this session, participants will receive information based on those experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. Two of the navigators serve the population that is categorized as very to extremely low-income and the other navigator focuses on those who are considered the workforce housing.

Housing navigators in general work in many areas of housing services like financial assistance, landlord and tenant mediation, and keeping in check with fair housing rights/policies to just name a few.

During COVID-19, these housing navigation programs have shown to be essential as our homeless population continues to grow and be vulnerable due to lack of shelter options. Also, many people who were living paycheck to paycheck before COVID-19 have found themselves facing housing insecurity and many of them have never been in this situation before. These events have caused a huge strain on services, financial assistance, and the housing market when these were already a high-demand before COVID-19. However, despite the many barriers that have been presented these housing navigators have been creative to create innovative ways that they could still serve those in need of housing and strengthen community engagement. At the end of the panel, there will be time for Q&A.

Poverty Awareness Month: subsidiarity & solidarity can end poverty

God empowers all, especially those who are vulnerable, to stand up for themselves and protect their dignity. Subsidiarity—the participation of the people directly affected by a problem in the solution-making process—is a way for us to affirm the dignity of all persons, especially at home in our communities. A key element of breaking the cycle of poverty is empowering low-income and vulnerable communities to learn how to raise their own voices and practice self-determination. In Catholic social teaching, subsidiarity is always paired with solidarity. Higher powers or institutions, such as government, must provide help and resources so that communities have the resources to address the problems that affect them.

Visit Poverty Awareness Month Webpage

Montana Crisis Recovery Line Now Available!

CONTACTS:
Marissa Perry, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, (406) 444-4514
Erin Loranger, Press Secretary, Governor’s Office, (406) 444-9725
Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

Governor Bullock Announces New Crisis Counseling Hotline Funded by $1.6 Million Federal Grant

Montana Crisis Recovery line is now available at                  121-877-503-0833

MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced a new crisis counseling hotline funded by a $1.6 million federal grant is now available to aid Montanans struggling with their mental health due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“We know Montanans in every corner of the state have been impacted by this virus in various ways and I’m pleased this hotline is available to support anyone in need,” Governor Bullock said. “I encourage Montanans to use the hotline now to receive confidential assistance and get connected to the appropriate services in their community.”

The Montana Crisis Recovery hotline is funded and available for at least the next nine months. Montanans in need of crisis counseling can call 1-877-503-0833 to receive free and confidential counseling services from trained crisis counselors Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The free service is meant to help people navigate feelings of isolation, loss, fear, uncertainty, depression, and anxiety they are experiencing during this time. The new service is available to all Montanans, with target populations identified as healthcare workers and first responders, school officials, veterans, elderly individuals, Native Americans, and farmers and ranchers.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) partnered with Disaster and Emergency Services to pursue the grant to address the growing need for mental health services.

“As COVID-19 cases rise across Montana, the impacts on mental health can be devastating to a wide range of the population,” Zoe Barnard, DPHHS Addictive and Mental Disorders Division Administrator, said. “A crisis counselor can offer an empathetic ear and provide support.”

Counselors on the other end of the line will be there to listen without judgement, offer emotional support, comfort, console, offer information and education on stress and coping, and direct callers to additional support and community resources. DPHHS is contracting with Mental Health America of Montana to manage the hotline. The phone line, when fully staffed, will include 12 trained crisis counselors. Efforts are currently under way to recruit and hire two counselors who are Tribal members.

In addition to Mental Health America of Montana, DPHHS will work closely with four additional project partners including the Montana Hospital Association, Voices of Hope, Kauffman & Associates Inc., and the Montana Public Health Institute. The team will work together to hire counselors and will provide outreach to communities across the state through this opportunity.

The grant is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Other mental health resources that are already available to Montanans include the Montana Crisis Text Line, Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Montana Warmline and Thrive by Waypoint Health.

The Crisis Text Line is available 24/7 by texting MT to 741 741; the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 800-273-TALK (8255); the Warmline is available Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 9 p.m. at 877-688-3377; and information about Thrive by Waypoint Health, an online cognitive behavioral therapy for those actively working to manage anxiety and stress, is available at https://thriveformontana.com/

Over the past several months, DPHHS has expanded these services to assist Montanans through the ongoing pandemic.

Good Samaritan Ministries is helping people avoid crisis during COVID

 

Posted at 12:50 PM, Aug 13, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues various support systems have been implemented to help people make it through this crisis. Even with the numerous grants and other programs, no system is perfect and some in need have been left without support.

Good Samaritan Ministries in Helena has been there to catch people who fell through the cracks in the system and help them avoid crisis, including those they employ.

Marvin Colman manages Our Place, a drop-in center overseen by Good Samaritan that provides a place for people dealing with mental health challenges, homelessness or other struggles find support.

The pandemic caused Colman and his family to need the same type of support.

“When the shutdown first happened, there was just so much need in the community we couldn’t close. So we laid off our employees, I stayed working 25 to 30 hours a week,” said Colman.

Colman spent the beginning of the pandemic mainly delivering food and groceries to people who couldn’t pick it up themselves.

By working that much, although reduced, Colman didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits. He’s also a student right now, which means he didn’t qualify for the federal stimulus money.

“Then the avalanche started where I just couldn’t pay everything each month, and eventually got to the point where I was so far behind I had to make the decision of do I keep the power on or do I pay the rent,” explained Colman.

Colman helps hundreds of people each week with finding housing, job services, peer support rides and food delivery. Yet he himself still struggled with admitting he needed help.

“It’s unfortunately part of our culture and so that’s where I found myself, even though I am a hard worker,” Colman said. “It was a little humbling at first, but then I thought ‘this happened, it was beyond your control, go ask!’ which was the hardest thing to do.”

Good Samaritan’s assistance ministries were able to help Colman with his rent, and began getting out of the ever deepening hole he had found himself in.

“Once I got my rent paid I could focus on all of the other bills coming in,” Colman said. “It gave me a month to get back on my feet. Then we opened, my hours went back to normal and I’m slowly digging out.”

Colman’s story is similar to the hundreds of families Good Samaritan helps every week. Most found themselves in mounting debt due to unforeseen circumstances.

Executive Director Theresa Ortega says the COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for the organization, but one they’re adapting to.

“Even though our Thrift Store had closed, our Assistance Ministry never stopped,” said Ortega. “We provided services online to get people connected with different agencies to arrange for a place to stay or what their needs were.”

Good Samaritan can assist people with childcare, vehicle repair, dental, household items, toiletries and more.

The nonprofit was able to meet those needs during the pandemic thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program from SBA, and a $10,000 COVID Relief grant from the State of Montana.

The parable of the Good Samaritan tells the story of a man giving aid to someone in need, and expecting nothing in return.

Ortega says they will continue to live up to their namesake and help all in need they can, even long after the pandemic has passed.

“We like to follow our services to serve the most in need throughout our community, the whole aspect of that. Those usually are the people that are ill, or downtrodden or homeless and we’ll keep going no matter what,” said Ortega.

The Good Samaritan Thrift Store is back up to their regular hours,and accepting donation on Tuesdays, Tuesdays and Saturdays.

More information about the services Good Samaritan Ministries provides, and how to support their mission can be found here.

Emergency housing assistance is also avalible through the State COVID Relief Fund. More information and how to apply can be found here.

Are You A Landlord, Property Manager, or Housing Agency?

Please look no further for a way to save money, time, and the hassle of finding the right tenant for you through the Housing Navigation program at Good Samaritan Ministries. Where we value the relationships between landlords and tenants to ensure housing success. Check out these services and more at https://www.goodsamhelena.org/ or call Good Samaritan Ministries at 406-442-0780 and ask for Housing Navigator Chandler Rowling.