Our Place Network of Social Service Community Centers
Our Place Inc., founded in 2000, provides social services to help the homeless and needy who seek respite from life on the streets. Our Place, is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity registered in the State of New Jersey.
All are welcome in Our Place Social Service Community Centers.
Our Place is establishing a Network of Social Service Community Centers managed by Muslims Against Hunger Project. The network's mission is to provide wrap around social services needed by poor, homeless and needy under one roof. The following is the list of centers which are already in operation or currently in the implementation phase:
The Social Services Community Centers will implement vast array of programs that would provide all the basic human needs vital to day-to-day survival; Daily Soup Kitchen with hot meals, showers for the homeless, and free medical care; job training; classes in English as a Second Language, literacy, computers, office skills and sewing; tutoring for kids in math, reading and science; and a community wide adopt-a- needy family program. The community center will be dedicated to relieving the poverty by taking a holistic and humanitarian approach with the underlying goal of lifting the needy out of poverty and into self-sufficiency.
The Networks underlying mission will be to provide the means and the path to self-sufficiency to “break the bonds of poverty". It will provide opportunities and support essentials to reducing, and hopefully, eliminating reliance on public and private assistance. And, it will all be done in a manner that maintains the dignity and self-esteem of recipients.
Characteristics of Social Services Community Centers
· Holistic and Humanitarian Approach to relieving the effects of poverty with the underlying goal of lifting the needy out of poverty and into self-sufficiency.
· All goods & services will be free e.g. (food, clothing, Jobs training, medical treatment, lab tests, and prescriptions).
· Volunteer-based: All major hours of services will be donated by volunteers (services will include 90% volunteers from medical care professionals, fundraising and PR, job trainers, food pantry and Soup kitchen workers).
· Extraordinarily low overhead and administration costs Goal to keep the overhead under 6%.
· Sustainable on Private Community Funding- no dependence on govt grants.
Proposed Services of Social Services Community Centers
· Halal Soup Kitchen, Emergency Food Bank and Homeless Programs - Hot Halal lunches served 5-7 days a week, emergency food and clothing distribution as well as weekly shower facilities for homeless. Volunteers will collect food from area supermarkets, mosques, schools, businesses and other organizations. Boxes containing a nutritionally balanced 3-day supply of food for an entire family will be provided to local recipients each month. Another key facet of the Food bank will be job skills training programs (for Food Service & Warehouse Workers).
· Day Time Drop-in-Shelter and Homeless Programs– The shelter will offer a safe place to get off the streets: a legal mailing address; a place to use the telephone calls to make arrangements for employment, treatment or services; referrals to and information about appropriate public and private agencies; emergency clothing, as well as socks, t-shirts and winter coats; and a place to store personal belongings, Volunteers and social work professionals will assist needy clients with information and referrals, with food stamp documentation, bus tokens, low income utilities and tax filing, computers with internet access for Job search and available local, state and federal training programs.
· Free Health Clinic – Medical care will be provided by volunteer health professionals in partnership with the state and federally funded free Medical Clinics. All the Clinics programs will provide preventative health education, free prescriptions, and referral arrangements for more specialized services.
· Employment Support, Library & Training Center - Employment Specialist will help individuals and families to free themselves from the poverty cycle by developing their ability to make choices that will lead to a better life. Employment Service programs in partnership with “People Helping People in Need” a state grants funded non-profit, will provide assistance to primarily low-skilled and unskilled clients seeking jobs. The program will help the clients explore resources they can investigate independently, give advice on interview strategies, encourage attendance at the ESL and Computer classes etc. resume writing workshops. Year-round ESL courses; literacy classes; computer lab and reading, math and science tutoring for kids.
· Clothing Center for Families – Provide to needy individuals and families necessary clothing, shoes, blankets and small household items. Clients will be given a complete outfit for job interviews