Hats Off to Our Supportive Services for Veteran Families team!

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is a VA program that helps Veterans and their families who are experiencing or are at risk for experiencing homelessness.

The Rapid Re-Housing program provides services for Veterans and their families who are currently experiencing homelessness. It assists with finding housing, determining benefit eligibility, finding employment, and helping with security deposits.

Homeless Prevention works with those families who, due to financial difficulties are behind on rent or utilities, are in danger of losing their home. St. Francis House SSVF currently serves an average of 200 families a year, and that is expected to increase to 275 families in the coming year.

St. Francis House has been a part of providing these services since Oct. 2012. The original grant served three counties – Pulaski, Lonoke, Saline, and Faulkner. Since then, the St. Francis House program has continually expanded. Beginning this month, we will provide services for fourteen counties in Arkansas: Pulaski, Lonoke, Saline, Faulkner, Jefferson, Garland, White and our newest additions- Benton, Washington, Madison, Arkansas, Conway, Hot Springs and Grant. This latest expansion includes a satellite office in Fayetteville and the addition of three new staff positions.

For more information on these programs, please call St. Francis House.

I Have a Job In Omaha

Michael was injured six months ago. He wasn’t able to work so he applied for Social Security Disability. He was approved for partial disability. It helped but was nowhere near enough to pay the bills. A few months ago, he found a part-time job at McDonald’s to supplement his disability payments. He was able to meet his bills and rent, pay for food and things were going well.

Then he got a call from Social Security Disability. Because he was working, they were disallowing even his partial disability, and he was informed he also had to pay back what he had been given. He began increasing his hours as he could to be able to meet his bills and this new obligation. It was tough, but he managed to stay on top of things.

A week ago, he lost his job. Michael’s family is in Omaha and with their help, he secured a job there. However, he was now entirely without resources. When he came into St. Francis House, he was tired, hungry and frustrated. He had a job waiting and no way to get there. Through the St. Francis House Crisis Assistance Fund, St. Francis House was able to help. We were able to get Michael a ticket to Omaha, as well provide some snacks for the journey.

Unfortunately, for every person like Michael, there are others we cannot help. St. Francis House receives numerous phone calls every day that have to wait because the funds aren’t there. Electric bills, water bills, gas bills, transportation- there are so many in our community who can’t meet even the most basic needs. Can you help?

The Time has arrived for the United Way Campaign!

St. Francis House has been a partner of United Way in a variety of ways for many years. Most recently, we were awarded a grant from the United Way Community Investment Fund to provide our clients with food and assistance with medicines and co-pays. As the cost of food and healthcare rise, these funds from United Way help us fill in the gaps for our clients.
Jason was referred to us from the Little Rock Community Mental Health Center. In addition to needing help with food and clothing, he needed help getting his medication. He had insurance, but the $105.00 copay was still too high for him to afford.
We’re thankful for our partnership with United Way and encourage you to give during your workplace campaign!

Serving Help and Hugs

Jana comes in to St. Francis regularly for food and clothes. She and her fiance William live with their small son in a rental at a trailer park in Little Rock. William tries to make ends meet by working two jobs, one at Shark’s Restaurant and one at a local church.
Jana was obviously upset on her last visit to St. Francis House. Initially she didn’t want to talk about it, but as our head of Social Services Phyllis Jones listened, eventually her story spilled out. Tearfully she told Ms. Jones that this month William had not gotten as many hours as usual and they were $100.00 short on their rent. They hadn’t had to ask for money before, and she didn’t know where to turn.
Thanks to St. Francis House donors, we were able to help. As Jana left she said through drying tears “Thank you for listening and thank you for helping. Can I give you a hug?” Needless to say, there were plenty of hugs to go around.

Coming Full Circle

>St. Francis House has fulfilled its mission in many different ways since its founding in 1970. Its first ministry was to provide outreach to the surrounding neighborhood including after-school and summer programs for neighborhood youth.
Donald Woolfolk was one of those young people. “I lived just around the corner and we could go after school and get help with homework or do activities. In the summer, they would arrange field trips and parties. People would have us over to use their pool. That was how I learned to swim, swim lessons through St. Francis House. Our favorite people were Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Fennell. I remember we just called them the two grannies, our white granny and our black granny. We even had a baseball team. I was on the team all through high school. I remember we had donated uniforms…and they were wool. By the time we got to a game we were sweating. We were kind of a ‘bad news bears’ kind of team. I don’t think we ever won a game, but we had a lot of fun”.
After high school, Donald worked for Children’s Hospital and joined the National Guard. He Joined the Air Force in 1980. While in the Airforce he married, but the marriage failed. He began abusing marijuana and alcohol and in 1989, was shot in a drug-related shooting. A shattered femur led to multiple surgeries and after he left the hospital, his drug use increased and led to a cocaine addiction. He remarried, got sober, and stayed clean for five years. Then he relapsed. He spent time in prison for drug charges and when he got out earlier this year the VA referred him to St. Francis House. “I moved around a lot after leaving the Airforce and my marriage failed because of drugs and alcohol. I think I was really running from my addiction, but I finally figured out that it was with me wherever I went. Once you’re an addict, you can’t go back. I thought after being sober for a while I could be normal. Have a few drinks, whatever. But you can’t go back, it doesn’t work. I know that now and I’ve got my mind made up.”
Donald is on Disability and working part-time. He is working his Twelve-Step Program, has a sponsor and is involved with his church. He’s found a place to live and is moving out of St. Francis House. Things come full circle. We’re glad Donald found his way back to St. Francis House and we are proud that he is a part of our story and St. Francis House, a part of his.

Counting Blessings

When one of our Social Services clients asked if he could take a notebook from donations, we said, “Of course!”

An older gentleman living on Social Security, Jesse comes in every few months. Like all our regular clients he receives food and clothing. Often we don’t know what kind of difference we make in the lives of our clients, but every once in a while, we get a sign.

After Jesse left, we found this prayer. Today we add our own: “Thank you, Father, for allowing us to help give someone a great day!  Amen.”


Falling Through the Cracks

As a supporter of St. Francis House, Lisa had heard about the partnership with St. Vincent’s Community Clinic program, but she never expected to need it. “I generally assumed clinics were for the chronically uninsured, and we’ve always had health insurance.” When her husband lost his job, continuing her insurance through Cobra was far too expensive, but since it was offered to her, she also didn’t qualify for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

A small accident caught her in insurance limbo – insured for care and stitches but uninsured for the follow-up to remove the stitches. That’s when she found out that St. Vincent’s and St. Francis House can also help with patients who are in between coverage. “My nurse was awesome, and I
have made a follow-up appointment for a prescription that will run out soon.”

Thank you, St. Vincent’s and St. Francis House for being a source of health and healing in our community!

Working with Local Churches

The local church is often the first place people turn to in hard times, and St. Francis House is often the place those churches turn to when a congregant needs help. That’s why when a member of First Baptist North Little Rock was caught short on her electric bill, they called us.

Shirley is no stranger to lean times. She works, but her job only pays $840 a month. She gets by with the help of food stamps and city housing assistance, and even then sometimes it just isn’t enough. Shirley had enough for part of her bill, and working together, the church and St. Francis House were able to pay the rest.
Working together- that’s what makes a true community!

Caring for a Child

Anyone who has cared for a child knows it is the most wonderful and most demanding thing someone will do. The demands are even tougher if one of those children has disabilities. Joann is a single mother of four girls – ten years, seven years, three years, and one year old. She worked to support her daughters until her third child was born with health problems. Her job had minimal benefits, and her wages were not enough to pay for the care her daughter needed, so she went on SSI disability for her daughter.

With rent costing $750.00 and the disability payment only $730.00 a month, she continues to work part-time when child care is available, but often it is not enough. Local food banks, including St. Francis House, help with food and clothing. This month, however, there was not quite enough to cover the water bill and still two weeks to go before her next check comes in. Joann requested aid from St. Francis House. Thanks to concerned people like you, we were able to help.

We can provide this service thanks to the regular donations of our partner and donors. Can you help? Become a Partner in Ministry today!

Serving the Little Rock Community Since 1970

Jaqueline remembers coming to St. Francis House as a child with her grandmother. That was a long time ago, but when she recently needed some help, she remembered where to go.

Jaqueline is a widow with two children and was trying to move into a more affordable place. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get the water turned on until she paid her entire final bill on her previous apartment. Thanks to people like you, St. Francis House was able to help Jaqueline do just that.

Unfortunately, there are often people like Jaqueline we can’t help. We receive calls daily for help with utilities, and for every one we can help, there are many others that we can’t. Help us help more people in our community – become a Partner in Ministry today!

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