St. Pete’s works with Good Samaritan to provide safe stable housing to those in need
Together, Courtney and Sue filled out dozens of applications for housing. And, Courtney helped connect Sue to Good Samaritan Ministries, a local nonprofit committed to providing services to meet the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals and families of all faith, especially those most in need. Good Samaritan was able to provide housing vouchers and support thanks to a grant from the CARES Act.
“When I first met Sue, she was going through a lot. She was experiencing lots and lots of emotions related to her medical concerns, on top of the housing stress,” said Courtney. “I was able to connect her to our behavioral health professionals and then get her connected to temporary housing through a grant from Good Samaritan. Those have been the most beneficial things in the time that we’ve worked together.”
One afternoon an HPD officer called and asked Good Sam’s team to go check on a particular gentleman living under the walking bridge close to Exploration Works. When we found this gentleman, he was wet, and so cold he could not move. He really was freezing to death! Wet, freezing and in pain from frostbite, our team loaded him up and took him straight to GSM Thrift Store for warm clothes as well as food to get through the first night. Instead of putting back outside, he was taken to a hotel to start his journey back to health and society…and this is when the work began. The teamwork for this very vulnerable individual in our community.
Good Samaritan was given an electric wheelchair for someone in need; we gave it to this man who had lost part of a finger from the spokes in his manual wheelchair. Thank you to the donor, it found a home and made someone very happy. This man had frostbite so bad on his hands that he could not grasp things. He has such severe frostbite he had multiple treatments a week scraping off the frostbite from skin. And he does it with a smile on his face, happy to be alive, and grateful for the help.
This man, as we got to know him, is the kindest, sweetest most amazing guy you could ever meet. How in the world had things slipped so bad to put him in this situation with nowhere to turn, nowhere to go, and no known family or friends to help? We ALL jumped in for his different needs and blended together for his progress. We all went to work for him! One of our team members continued getting food for him and transporting him to medical appointments for serious conditions. He was a victim of his social security money being continuously stolen, together he and staff worked on getting a new payee so he could actually see his own money. Every single one of our team members came together to work with him on different needs. He was so thankful and happy to work with the Good Sam team, a smile on his face, happy to be alive, and grateful for the help.
This is the reason we do what we do, we strive to make the lives of those who cross our paths better. They are worth it, and they certainly deserve it! And you, our donors help us make these changes in everyday lives.
The smile on his face will shatter your heart. It was so wide, full, and beautiful, just like a Montana moon! These acts of kindness still exist today. Changing lives for the better is something neighbors helping neighbors can do.
There is always someone worse off….
In Aug of 2020, a consumer, a pleasant man in obvious personal pain came into the Our Place looking for housing. He had at one time had stable housing, a stable job, and ten years of sobriety from a Methamphetamine and Heroin addiction.
After a short talk with Our Place peer support, we learned that four months earlier his daughter had committed suicide, a week after that his older brother had lost his life to COVID-19, then within a month he lost his job and housing with nowhere else to go but his vehicle. Unfortunately he was unable to cope and process the personal tragedies and pain. Unfortunately, he returned to his addictions and became lost in drugs again numbing the pain.
He contacted several agencies for a Chemical Dependency Evaluation (CDE). He was told over and over, it would be between five to six weeks before anyone would be able to see him.
A peer support specialist introduced him to the manager of Our Place. Once the need was identified, Instar community Services was contacted for a CDE as a Good Samaritan partner for such services. Upon complement of the evaluation it was determined he needed inpatient treatment and Good Samaritan contacted the Montana Chemical Dependency Center (MCDC) in Butte, Montana. Because his assessment of need was so great MCDC agreed to take him within the week. Our Place gave him a ride to Butte and he spent thirty days in treatment. While he was in treatment, Our Place housing Coordinator, Lori reached out to the community and was able to find him housing. This, to prevent him from being homeless and without a safe place of his own. He graduated treatment and he is now stably housed. He continues counseling every week and is starting to work through the grief he feels for the loss of his family. He is currently reconnecting with his other two children and he just had a job interview he feels positive about.
You can help!
In February 2020, a young female came into Our Place and asked the manager if she could volunteer at the drop-in center. The manager asked her why she wanted to volunteer. She told him that one year ago she had been homeless and living on the street. She had spent several months living in the shelter; while there Our Place had been one of the only places of actual comfort, safety, and warmth she could find. Eventually, she was able to secure an apartment, but she never wanted to be in that position again, so she went to the Career Training Institute. She spent a year training with them in several different employee areas. The young lady had previously never been able to keep a job for more than a week or two because she suffered from mental illness.
While at the career institute she learned about Peer Support as a career opportunity. She applied for and received a grant from them to attend Peer Support training. She fell in love with the concept of helping others that suffered as she had. When she graduated, she heard that Our Place had come under new management. The manager told her they had no job openings, but she simply shook her head and said, “No, I’m not looking for work right now I am looking for experience.” She told him that she knew she didn’t have very much work experience and wanted to volunteer twenty hours a week as peer support so that someday when she did get a job she would already be good at it.
The manager signed her up as a volunteer and gave her on the job training including everything from the NASW code of ethics to Crisis response. She was able to develop good work habits such as good attendance, mediation, and the ability to connect with her peers while remaining objective. Six months after she started volunteering, a job opportunity came up at Our Place and due to her hard work and dependability the decision was made to hire her. She works as a peer support specialist and enjoys success in this field to this very day.
An AmeriCorps member has been housed!
An AmeriCorps- Montana Conservation Corps member started serving for his term this past fall to help do studies on homes and fire mitigation. He moved from California to Montana to serve and could not find housing right away. He ended up camping for a while and it started getting cold. He knew he needed to find housing before winter began but needed some resources because he was still new to Helena. Matt came to Good Samaritan’s for housing navigation services and was able to get housed after two weeks. Thanks to a private landlord in the community who is opening to taking AmeriCorps members who on average get a net income of $800-$900 a month. Good Samaritan’s great appreciates the collaboration landlords provide to community members serving for their country.
We did a mission moment months ago regarding a young lady who was struggling in life. She desperately needed help and someone to help her navigate towards finding that help. She was about as lost as a person can be, needing mental health care as well as addiction treatment and help. We cannot stress enough about how hard it was to get her the help she deserves and needed. She strived for a life that she can be proud of and a life where she can be happy. She worked so hard to achieve this. And Good Samaritan has walked this path with her and could not be prouder of who she is today. She is fully in recovery, working with the PACT team from The Center for Mental Health who has guided her in changing her life. She is now seeing her children again which is what she was fighting so hard for. We wish you could all see this transformation. You would be moved to tears as we have been.
Every single day is a struggle for those facing mental health challenges along with addiction issues. It is a very real problem. We ALL need to come together to help support individuals in this struggle. To help them navigate the system so they can each get the help they DESERVE! And if we come together like we did for this young lady and fight for their right to a good life we can have more success stories such as hers. She is truly an inspiration.
It only takes one person to believe in you to start believing in yourself
A gentleman of 79 years came to Our Place. He worked in an asbestos mine, when publicized asbestos was toxic, he not only lost his job, but became ill with asbestos poisoning. He eventually received a sum from a general asbestos fund but by that time had developed Asbestos related symptoms which took his settlement, plus more leaving him homeless. The treatment left him disabled and learning to live on the streets.
With many years of homelessness and homes being taken due to “community progress” …he hitchhiked his way to Helena with the thought there must be more services in the State Capitol. He spent the first thirty days in Helena trying to find housing but was unsuccessful, he remained homeless in a shelter or on the streets. He was referred to us by Purview and the homeless shelter finding his way to Our Place. Staff at Our Place completed the standard housing intake with him, including a Permanent Supportive Housing application in hopes of receiving a housing voucher. The sad truth is, however, that the waiting list for these programs can take 1-2 years before someone is accepted and that is assuming once they are accepted into the program they can find a house that takes a voucher.
That same day we made several phone calls without success, but we refused to accept defeat! He needed a clean place because of his medical condition. Can you imagine being ill and homeless? One of our other clients suggested an apartment complex with openings, we called it just in case there might be an opening. After repeated attempts to reach the company on the phone, we decided to take the gentleman up there in person.
Sometimes life is all about timing, luck, or a candle in the wind from someone giving back. When we walked into the building the regional manager was there. She gave us an application at which we filled out together. We turned it in and miraculously the manager was so impressed with him, she approved him on the spot. He moves in three days from now!
Everyone deserves a home of their own!!!
There was a lady… with two young sons… who needed help with getting into a home after being homeless for months. She had a good paying job but also had debt that she was working on getting cleared up. She had saved enough for rent but really could not come up with the deposit in time for this rental. She came into GSM requesting help. After interviewing her she applied for the Hunthausen program for deposit support. The Hunthausen Fund is unique in serving the working population with a half loan – no interest, half grant funds up to $1000.00. She has one year to repay half of the total deposit back. This is to help people with a hand up not a total hand out. She made a few payments then came in to pay the remaining off. The look of relief at not being homeless any longer is tremendous. There is so much gratitude and happiness. I wish everyone who helps donate to this cause could witness this relief. The boys now have a home to grow up in and be in a safe environment, the mother is not so stressed about not being able to provide for her children how she wants, their lives have improved tenfold!! The gratitude when the last payment is made, the simple responsibility of paying it off makes these clients feel as if they themselves have invested in this entire process. It feels like it is theirs and they are proud of this achievement.
Thank you, donors, it is because of you we can provide The Hunthausen Fund and continue the work of Archbishop Hunthuasen, Fr. Jack and Sister Edna for all to have a home.
Good Samaritan’s Assistance Ministry was working with a young man who was in such a desperate situation, no home, no money, no sense of security, such a fear of the future that he didn’t know how or if he even wanted to live anymore. Good Samaritan helped him with a bus ticket to Butte where he was able to get stable housing and start a new life. He recently was in contact with our Assistance Coordinator and told her how he wakes up grateful every day now instead of wanting to die.
The young man was so thankful for the help from Good Samaritan Ministries that he came back and donated to the Assistance Ministry to show his gratitude for the new life he has built for himself.
His story is a great example of how Good Samaritan gives people a hand up not a handout in order for them to succeed in life.