Centerstone, a not-for-profit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments, is utilizing special grant funding to equip local individuals experiencing homelessness with hygiene products and other useful supplies during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Homelessness has long been an issue in southern Illinois. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, the limited resources we had for this population are even more limited because shelter capacities have been diminished and there are more people struggling to maintain stable housing,” says Angela Quigley-Ragland, clinical coordinator for Centerstone.
Thanks to a special grant worth $10,850 from Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition, Centerstone has been able to purchase high-demand items such as sleeping bags, tents, blankets, hygiene products, ready-to-eat meals (MREs), bus passes, and other items. Centerstone provided a 10% match to further fund these critical resources.
“It’s just been very beneficial to have these items on hand for people in the community,” says Quigley-Ragland. Centerstone has items on-hand for new clients, but also does community outreach, targeting distribution in areas where homeless individuals are known to congregate.
The distribution of these supplies augments Centerstone’s existing programs for individuals experiencing homelessness, including a federal SAMHSA grant that helps the organization provide services to those to those residing in Williamson, Jackson, Franklin, and Union counties with substance use disorders or co-occurring disorders that are also experiencing homelessness or lack of stable housing. These services are offered through the Connections program and include counseling, case management, linkages to primary and specialty care, and more.
“You came into our lives when we were literally losing hope. I appreciate everything you have done and will continue to do. You mean a lot to me already. Thank you,” said one Centerstone client who was a recipient of Connections services.
Anyone seeking more information on this program or other Centerstone services, or those seeking to donate items for homeless outreach activities, can call 1-877-HOPE-123 (877-467-3123).