One Mistake

Herbert McIntosh is a gentle giant of a man. He served in the Navy from 1986 until 1990 and was an EOD specialist. After leaving the military he worked as a prison guard in Oklahoma, but a single mistake cost him fifteen years of freedom. “This man had been bothering me and wouldn’t let up. I lost my temper and hit him. I was found guilty of aggravated assault.”
Because of his exemplary behavior in prison, Herbert was admitted to a special program for Veterans. Upon his release in June he was referred to St. Francis House. He is currently part of the Compensated Work Therapy Program at the VA Hospital working in housekeeping. He is saving for his own place to stay and looks forward to graduating the St. Francis House program. Herbert states “St. Francis House is a good start to help you get back on your feet”. We’re glad we could be here for Herbert and feel sure he will continue to do well in the future!

When You Lose Everything

Janie is a grandmother on Social Security Supplemental Security Income due to disability for severe narcolepsy. She, her two children and two grandchildren live together here in Little Rock. She first came to St. Francis House last month for food assistance.

Two weeks ago, we got a desperate call- Janie had fallen asleep while alone in their home and woke to find their home on fire. She was able to get out, but all the rooms were destroyed except the room she was in. The cause of the fire was unknown.

The Red Cross put the family up in a hotel for a limited time, but a new place would not be available for another week.

Thanks to your donations and the St. Francis House Crisis Assistance Fund, Janie and her family have a place to stay until they can get into a new place and begin rebuilding their lives.

A Gift For Gratitude

Bradley Kane is one of those people who takes nothing for granted, not his health, not a job, not even getting help.

He was a US Army infantryman from 1993 – 2009. After leaving the military, he moved to Texas to work in the family business and worked up and down the Texas coast until medical needs interfered. He underwent multiple surgeries in Texas, and when even more surgeries were needed in June, he came to Arkansas to be treated at the VA here in Little Rock.

During his hospital stay, his wallet disappeared. With no ID, no money and no place to stay after leaving the hospital, the VA took him to the Veterans’ Day Treatment Center for help. He was immediately referred to St. Francis House and moved in August 3rd.

Even with the help of caseworkers at St. Francis House, it took over two months to get his ID allowing him to apply for employment. However, undeterred by the delays, Bradley headed back to work with enthusiasm. He found jobs at Home Depot and ARC of Arkansas. He is currently saving money to move into his own place.

When asked about his experience at St. Francis House, he replied, “This program is not owed; it is a privilege extended to Veterans. St. Francis House has my undying gratitude.” Mr. Kane, it is a privilege to know you, and as a Veteran, you have our undying gratitude for your service!

Thanks to You, We Could Help

Dolores is 57 years and has been on total disability for several years. After paying the rent, she has just over $400.00 a month to cover her medicine, food, and utilities. She rarely asks for help, and normally she finds a way to cover her expenses. This month, however, she got behind. When she realized she couldn’t pay her entire electric bill, she called and arranged a partial payment so that the electricity wouldn’t be turned off.

A few days later, she called St. Francis House in a panic. She had received a shut-off notice in the mail, and a technician had arrived at her door to turn off the electricity.

Luckily, thanks to donors like you, there was just enough to help Dolores. St. Francis House staff were also able to tell her about our prescription assistance program so that we can help her with prescription costs next month.

Can you help us help people like Dolores? Every day we get calls from people we do not have the resources to serve. Your contributions directly affect how many people we help a month. Please consider giving today!

Hard Work and a Great Attitude

Mike Beckley greets everyone he meets with a heartfelt “Hello” and a shy smile. An Airforce Veteran and one of eleven children, he’s no stranger to hard work. In fact, it was hard to catch him long enough for a chat since he always seems to be on his way to work!

Mike enlisted in the Airforce in 1977 and served in communications until he left the service in 1983. He married in 1986 and has two children. The marriage later dissolved, primarily due to problems with alcohol. “I’ve had a drinking problem since I was nineteen though I didn’t realize it. For a long time I was still drinking and doing dumb stuff on weekends. Acting like a kid even though I wasn’t.”

After a variety of jobs in different places, Mike was working as a bus driver when an accident caused him to resign. His younger brother intervened when Mike became homeless, providing a place to stay and immediate family connection. He lost both parents soon after. Before his father died, Mike made him a promise to stop drinking. “I think the thing I’m proudest of is that I’ve been sober seven years now.”

Mike came to Little Rock after applying for a job at Fort Roots. When he didn’t get the position, he contacted the Veterans Day Treatment Center, and they referred him to St. Francis House. Today he is employed at US Pizza and is saving for his own place to live. He plans to continue working and hopes to get his computer certification so he can get back into communications. When asked what he would tell veterans about St. Francis House, he replied “Get over here and get your stuff together. This is the place to be to do that.” It’s obvious to us that Mike is doing just that with a great attitude and lots of hard work! We’re proud of you, Mike!

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.