After more than two years living on the streets, Robin Chelf, a 55 year old man from Louisville, is once again moving into his own home. Robin has struggled with emphysema and asthma and has been hospitalized several times in the last year due to his severe health issues and lack of health insurance. He completed high school and some college and has a close family member who has stuck with him through his two year struggle, but things are really looking up this week due to a collaborative community effort called Rx: Housing.
Back in September of 2011, Robin was interviewed by a group of volunteers while he was sleeping on the streets. At the end of 2011, case workers and peer support specialists from Family Health Centers – Phoenix Clinic and Wellspring came looking for Robin to tell him he had been selected for housing. As part of a Housing First model, Robin was able to immediately begin completing paperwork for a Section 8 voucher and find an apartment in the community. The case managers who met with him on the streets and helped him take those steps will continue to be there for him even after he moves to housing. This is all possible due to housing provided by the Louisville Metro Housing Authority and Louisville Metro Department of Community Services and Revitalization and services coordinated by Family Health Centers and other partners including Bridgehaven, Seven Counties Services' Jefferson Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center (JADAC), St. John Center and Wellspring. The services are funded in large part by a federal SAMHSA grant through the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
75 people will be moving from the streets to permanent housing through the Rx: Housing Program. Each of these 75 people was identified through the September survey as being at risk of dying on the streets without intervention which means the program is saving lives and resources at our local hospitals. Natalie Harris, Executive Director of The Coalition for the Homeless who coordinated the survey process and is now raising funds for furniture and deposits for each person entering the program shares that, "Rx: Housing is definitely a project that takes a village. Fortunately, the support from businesses and individuals has been strong."
There are two easy ways to help make the move from homelessness to permanent housing a reality for 75 citizens in Louisville. Clients getting ready to move into Rx: Housing apartments will all be registered at Target stores throughout Louisville. When you are shopping at Target, simply go to the wedding gift registry then enter the first name of the tenant followed by "RXHOUSING" as the last name. To date, Robin, Theodore, Kevin, Kenneth, Julius and Kelvin T. are registered for their household needs just like a wedding registry. You can pay for one or several items on their move in list. You can also help support a client's deposit or furniture needs by making a donation at www.louhomeless.org and clicking on the donate button and indicating that the donation is for Rx: Housing.
GMeals is a locally based food company focused on providing fresh and affordable prepared dining options for Louisvillians on the go. They recently opened the company's third location in the Holiday Manor Shopping Center. You can also visit their other two locations on Poplar Level Road and River Road. Breakfast, lunch and dinner options are available, as well as family portions and corporate lunch boxes. GMeals is a Kentucky Proud business and their dishes are never frozen and contain no added preservatives.
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