One of the core focuses of We Care from the Heart, a nonprofit organization in East Chicago, is helping local individuals who are homeless. Contrary to what some may believe, homelessness is not an issue isolated to major cities. There is a homeless population in nearly every community around the country.
Dianne Craft, founder of We Care from the Heart, said that many East Chicagoans experiencing homelessness are senior citizens. One reason this happens is because some are unable to keep track of which bills they have paid. Others may be no longer able to keep their homes clean. Both of these situations result in eviction.
We Care from the Heart offers several programs to help the local homeless and to reduce homelessness altogether in East Chicago. One of these programs is the Caring Hearts Homeless Prevention and Compliance Initiative Program. This initiative brings together several local and government organizations, including the Foundations of East Chicago (FEC) as a sponsor, to contribute in assisting at-risk East Chicago residents to stay in their homes. This includes services like in-home assessments, home de-cluttering and tax preparation. Additionally, residents are educated on how to manage their bills and take care of their homes; gaining back some self-sufficiency and ensuring that they will not be evicted.
Another program that benefits the local homeless is the Caring Hearts Homeless Outreach Program. This initiative helps homeless individuals during the harsh winter months. The program has a mobile component in which outreach workers travel around the city identifying people who may be living on the street. They offer basic survival items such as food gift cards, blankets, coats and other necessities collected through one of the organization’s donation programs, Claudia’s Closet. These workers also provide information on care coordination and free transportation services to community resources. The program aims to keep those on the streets as safe as possible, and helps them take some of the first steps towards stable housing.
One of the most impactful programs for the homeless offered by We Care from the Heart is Home Away from Home. Through this program, We Care from the Heart connects with several group homes throughout Northwest Indiana, including Phillip Squall’s Safe Haven located in the Harbor of East Chicago. Homeless individuals selected by the organization to be the best fit are given the opportunity to live in a group home for as long as they like. The residents of many of these homes also learn life skills to help them gain back some autonomy.
To learn about any other programs or initiatives offered by We Care from the Heart, visit www.FoundationsEC.org.