Love And Hope In Action (LAHIA) is a faith-based nonprofit ministry that began as a simple weekly cookout for the local homeless in south Martin County in May 2007. The mission of LAHIA is to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ in Martin County by providing an opportunity for a productive life to the homeless and indigent through helping them meet their spiritual and basic physical needs.
LAHIA is a daytime resource center offering 2 hot meals a day 6 days a week, showers, laundry, haircuts, bicycles for those working and searching for work, clothing, toiletries, camping supplies, bedding, food pantry, mail service, transportation to appointments, social service assistance, replacement documentation (IDs, birth certificates, SS cards), housing, disability benefits assistance, Christian counsel, outreach/recovery support, financial literacy, culinary training program, job related resources, and legal service recommendation.
LAHIA is serving a large population that has fallen through the cracks for a myriad of reasons. We are unique in Martin County and work closely with partner agencies to provide homeless and indigent individuals a full array of tangible, free resources to empower them to progress to a more humane and healthy living situation.
Over the last 13 years, we have grown into a fully functional daytime resource center offering the above services to a growing population -- now even more so with the COVID pandemic putting many more individuals and families in financial distress. Until this summer, we were not able to facilitate the need for low income housing, yet it has always been a deep desire of ours and continues to be an urgent need.
On July 1, 2020, we were given the opportunity to participate in a 2-fold program (SOAR/PATH) that assists people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness to gain access to SSI/SSDI benefits as well as affordable housing services. SOAR program increases access to SS disability benefits for eligible children and adults who have a serious mental illness, medical impairment and/or co-occurring substance abuse disorder. These disorders hinder their ability to navigate the application and follow-up process which can take up to 3-5 years on their own or with an attorney. This program helps an eligible individual receive benefits within 3-6 months of applying which results in quicker placement into affordable housing. PATH program funds start-up housing costs (first, last and/or security) for people with mental illness experiencing homelessness. Further assistance includes mental health & substance use disorder treatment referrals, recovery support, health care referral, financial literacy, and peer support services until the individual has sustainable income and is living independently.
LAHIA served 1000+ clients in 2019 -- 525 were brand new to us! As of 9/1/20, we have served another 408 new clients, largely due to the pandemic. These numbers were not anticipated in our 2020 budget forecast. However, it has always been our practice to assist whoever comes to us, with every resource available to us. Getting people off the street, out of the woods and free of living out of their vehicles, is a huge asset not only to them, but to the community as a whole. With housing and intentional follow-up services of those we are assisting, there is less panhandling and petty theft; less annoyance in public parks, private property and local businesses; fewer health risks resulting in lower numbers in the emergency room and county jails. For those being housed, the benefits are huge: families are able to stay together, fear of the unknown while living in the elements is replaced by security of a locked door, improved physical, emotional and mental health.
The addition of the SOAR/PATH programs has expanded our reach from Martin County to include three adjoining counties (St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee). 30 individuals have been housed through this program from 7/1/20 to 9/1/20. The program target for the year is only 75 individuals. But this is just a small number compared to the overall need and we want to be prepared to surpass that goal with private funding as necessary.
LAHIA continues to be privately funded by individuals, churches, organizations and foundations. Our desire is to not be limited by our current resources, thus we will continue to apply for grants and promote fundraisers such as this one.
Love and Hope in Action Inc
Employer id number (ein)
AddressPO BOX 1385