On September 7th, 2023, I found myself at 405 Hall Street in Monroe, Louisiana, witnessing an inspiring display of community dedication. This was the grand opening of the new location of Wellspring Homeless Services, an institution with a reputation for providing vital services to some of Northeast Louisiana’s most vulnerable.
As part of the ongoing Bayou View series, I aim to bring stories from the heart of ArkLaMiss that are worth sharing, and my visit to this new Wellspring facility was nothing short of enlightening.
As soon as I stepped into their recently remodeled lobby, the ambiance was warm, and the mission clear. Kristie Hall, the passionate Director of Homeless Services, welcomed me. It’s always intriguing when you can see the passion in someone’s eyes, and Kristie was an embodiment of dedication. She graciously offered a tour, unveiling each aspect of the center and explaining the pivotal role they play in serving the homeless population across 12 parishes in Northeast Louisiana.
During our walk, Kristie introduced me to Calvin Williams, the Assistant Director of Homeless Services. Together, they provided a glimpse into the heart of Wellspring’s mission. Kristie shared the “coordinated entry” concept they employ. In simple terms, it’s a screening process for any homeless person, ensuring they receive the best possible assistance tailored to their needs. If, for some reason, Wellspring isn’t the right fit, they ensure individuals are directed to organizations where they can find the right support.
(Kristie and Calvin)
Calvin expanded on this, emphasizing that Wellspring’s goal is to be an open door for everyone. Their services are without bias, aiming to assist anyone, regardless of their current situation. The striking thing he mentioned was the accessibility of their services. You don’t need an appointment. If someone is in need, all they have to do is walk through their doors. Recognizing the vast territory they serve, Calvin highlighted that while in-person meetings are preferred, they are flexible. Whether over the phone or even through outreach efforts where they visit individuals in remote areas, they are committed to ensuring assistance is provided.
One crucial takeaway from my visit was the need for community involvement. As Kristie expressed, volunteers are the backbone of their operations. They are always in need of helping hands, whether it’s for organizing their food pantry, maintaining the donation closet, or even teaching life skills to the homeless. Every bit counts, and it’s a clarion call to the community to step up and be part of this noble endeavor.
In conclusion, my visit to Wellspring Homeless Services was an eye-opener. It provided insight into the tireless efforts of organizations and individuals dedicated to uplifting the less fortunate among us. Their new facility at 405 Hall Street is not just a building; it’s a beacon of hope for those in dire circumstances, signaling that help, understanding, and assistance are just a door away.
For those reading this, if you feel compelled to join this cause or know someone who could benefit from Wellspring’s services, reach out to them at 318-651-9314 or explore their website at wellspringofnela.org. Let’s collectively ensure that our ArkLaMiss community thrives, with no one left behind.