LIFE TRANSFORMATION MODEL

Our Mission’s Continuum of Care

No matter where someone is in their journey with homelessness, we want to have a next step for them towards sobriety, education, employment, and housing.

At Light of Life, we are dedicated to understanding the unique needs of each individual and addressing the root cause of why they became homeless in the first place in order to provide them resources and solutions while walking alongside them with the transformative love of Christ.

FACING HOMELESSNESS

IN 2023, LIGHT OF LIFE SERVED OVER 3,000 UNIQUE INDIVIDUALS FACING HOUSING AND FOOD INSECURITY.

“For those we serve, we found 25% of the homeless population benefits from a housing-first approach. For the other 75% of individuals suffering from homelessness, they need wrap-around services for them to be successful. There are core, underlying issues that caused them to become homeless in the first place — severe mental health, addiction, or trauma. No matter where an individual is throughout their journey of homelessness, we want to understand their unique needs and address the root cause of why they became homeless in the first place in order to provide them with next steps to help them transform their lives.” – Rev. Jerrel T. Gilliam, Executive Director

Tributaries of Homelessness

32% of Allegheny County’s homeless have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. Challenges with accessing mental health care- whether it be due to lack of options for those suffering from severe mental health or affordability- many individuals experiencing mental health disabilities do not seek treatment.

The city of Pittsburgh has a deficiency of 30,000 affordable housing units at or below 50% of the average median income index for those needing low-income housing. For low-income families, there is nowhere to live. To date on average, there are 260+ Evictions per week in Allegheny County and 13,000+ eviction cases filed each year with the average amount claimed by landlords being $2,029.

Drug and alcohol dependency is a leading cause to an individual becoming homeless and those experiencing past trauma or mental health disabilities often turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their trauma or disability. 1,030 individuals were reported as accidental overdose deaths from 2021-2022 in Allegheny County. There was a 12.2% increase in overdose deaths in Allegheny County from 2019-2021. Pennsylvania is among the 10 states with the highest opioid use and overdose rates.

38% of Domestic Violence Victims become homeless at some point in their lives. 7 out of 10 women who enter Light of Life’s Emergency Shelter have been sexually or domestically abused.

Adverse Childhood Experience: ACE’s are traumatic events, including all types of abuse and neglect, that occur before a child reaches the age of 18. The more ACE’s an individual has experienced, the greater the risk for outcomes such as substance use, poor mental health and homelessness. Research shows the average adult experiences 3 ACE’s in their lifetime and those who are considered homeless experience at least 8 ACE’s by the time they reach adulthood.

LIGHT OF LIFE RESCUE MISSION

Connects those facing homelessness to additional services, programs, and resources to find the best solution that fits an individual’s unique needs.

27%

Increase of Allegheny County’s homeless population since 2021

32%

Of Allegheny County’s homeless have been diagnosed with a mental health condition

267

Average number of weekly evictions in Allegheny County

OUTREACH SERVICES

Our work at Light of Life truly begins with the incredible efforts made by our Outreach Services. Outreach gives us the opportunity to make initial contact and directly engage with someone in need of help through our Street Outreach Team, Food Pantry, and Donation Center. Once connection has been made with a Light of Life team member, individuals in need can begin to receive information on next steps to access emergency services, programs, or resources.

Light of Life’s Street Outreach Team directly engages with those who are experiencing chronic homelessness, addiction, trauma, and mental health by making daily visits to encampments throughout the city. Our goal is to build trust and grow relationships with individuals in need by making daily visits to our city’s homeless encampments in hopes of bringing them back to the Light of Life for general assessment. From there, we can gain a deeper understanding of their specific needs in order to find ways to help them.

Light of Life’s Food Pantry directly serves people in the community who are experiencing food insecurity or homelessness by providing them with the opportunity to “shop” for a variety of fresh food to feed themselves and their families. Individuals and families who visit the Food Pantry are provided resources and information connecting them to other Light of Life Services and Programs or other community partner services depending on their needs. The pantry also expands its services by supporting community partners and outside organizations on a weekly basis to obtain food for those they directly serve.

Light of Life’s Donation Center provides non-profit organizations physical items for people they serve who are in need. The Donation Center also offers a Free Store to help local individuals and families who are struggling by providing items that are essential to their well-being while meeting them in their current stage of life and offering encouragement, resources and prayer to guide them in hopes of achieving the life God intended for them and their families. The Donation Center offers opportunities to engage with those in the community who are struggling, develop relationships, and offer those in need additional resources or access to additional Light of Life’s services.

FIND HOPE

Connect with a member of Light of Life’s Outreach Team to request access to Light of Life’s Services or Programs

37%

Of the current homeless population are women. Women & Children make up the fastest growing homeless population

3,122

Number of homeless students in Allegheny County reported for the 2022-2023 School year

1 IN 7

Individuals experience food insecurity in Southwestern PA

EMERGENCY SERVICES

Light of Life’s Emergency Services give every man, woman, and child experiencing housing or food insecurity safe shelter, a hot meal, and opportunity into a new life of independent living. Our goal within our Emergency Services is to provide basic needs and create opportunities for individuals to be loved well by our caring staff in hopes they will commit to entering Light of Life’s long-term programming placing them on a path of life transformation.

The Men’s Emergency Shelter provides safe sleeping for those experiencing housing insecurity in our community and opportunity to receive additional services. We want to offer those experiencing housing insecurity a comfortable, safe place to sleep and create opportunities for them to be loved well by our caring staff in hopes they will commit to entering Light of Life’s long-term programming placing them on a path of life transformation.

Men experiencing housing insecurity and seeking shelter have the opportunity to enter Light of Life’s Shelter Plus+ Service. Shelter Plus+ is a 90-Day shelter option for those seeking to build next steps towards permanent housing and sobriety. Shelter+ helps those ready to take the next step in finding permanent housing, sobriety, education, or life transformation.

Light of Life’s Women & Children Emergency Shelter provides a safe, healthy environment and support services for women (and their children) experiencing housing insecurity due to addiction, mental health, domestic abuse or additional trauma. Women in need of emergency shelter services come into the shelter directly from street encampments or are referred to us through other community partners..

For women, 90-Day Jump Start is considered a next step towards long-term recovery. Women enter 90-Day Jump start after utilizing emergency shelter services at Light of Life or come straight from other rehab facilities. Once a woman has completed the 90-Day Jump Start, they are ready for next step programs or services such as a halfway house, subsidized housing, entering Light of Life’s Long-Term Programming or referral to another organization for services that best suit their direct needs depending on the severity of their mental health or path to sobriety.

At Light of Life, we believe hope starts with a meal. Those experiencing food insecurity can visit our Voeghtly Street Shelter for a warm meal 365 days/year and participate in daily chapel services. We want to provide those in need a warm meal and opportunity for staff to love guests who walk through our doors.

CHOOSE HELP

While receiving any of Light of Life’s emergency services, inquire with a dedicated staff member about entering a Long-Term Program to begin making steps towards life transformation.

3,000+

Unique individuals served at Light of Life in 2023

500,000+

Meals served through Light of Life’s kitchen and Food Pantry in 2023

LONG-TERM PROGRAMMING

Light of Life’s Long-Term Programming gives men, women, and children the opportunity to transform their lives from homelessness, poverty, or addiction into healthy members of our community; allowing them to be restored into who God intended them to be.

Light of Life’s Long-Term Programming serves men who are experiencing homelessness due to issues with mental health or substance abuse. Typically, men enter the program through Light of Life’s emergency shelter, an external referral through a community partner or in-patient rehab facilities. Men’s Long-Term Programming is divided into 3 Segments: High Commitment Shelter, Mental Health Program, and Life Recovery Program.

Light of Life’s High Commitment Shelter serves individuals who come from our Shelter Plus+ Program and are ready to take the next steps in diving deeper into overcoming housing insecurity and addiction. Those participating in High Commitment Shelter spend 6-9 Months building towards their goals.

Men in both the Mental Health Program (MHP) & Life Recovery Program (LRP) face troubles with addiction and substance abuse, which can lead to them experiencing homelessness. The main focus of the Mental Health Program & Life Recovery Program is to address the core issues that led to their addiction in the first place, which can take time as they have to overcome trust issues and break down barriers.

Light of Life’s Women & Children Program provides a safe and healthy environment for women with children and single women who can recover and grow from past experiences that may have contributed towards their present circumstances and work towards healthy relationships with God, themselves, and their families. Light of Life staff works together with each woman and child to help them address their spiritual, physical, emotional and relational needs.

Off-Site apartments (owned and operated by Light of Life) for women without children who live in the same building This housing concept helps build sense of community for single women living on their own while participating in the program.

Subsidy housing with various landlords throughout Allegheny County This service is for women with children to help give them a sense of security and safety as they participate in the program. Because this option is subsidized rent for 18-24 months, it removes a financial barrier that often keeps the client from focusing on their recovery and rebuilding relationships with their children.

When a woman enters the Light of Life’s Women & Children’s Long-Term Program who is coming from another program at an outside facility, they follow their current facility’s protocol and join Light of Life’s Program once a week for educational programming. When Light of Life Staff sees them succeeding, the client can then now transition out of Partial Phase and enter into Full Phase- giving them the opportunity to join either Sister’s Recovery House or Scattered Sites Housing.

START YOUR JOURNEY

Complete a needs assessment to determine which program is right for you. Start your journey in making the next steps of life transformation.

50

Individuals who have gained employment in 2022

36

Individuals who have obtained housing in 2022

AFTERCARE

Aftercare is considered for the first year after a Light of Life Program graduate moves into their own housing. During that first year, graduates in the Aftercare program maintain contact with their Care Team Leader every two weeks. Because of this new life transformation, there will always be ups and downs the client may face on their own, which is why ongoing support and staying connected to Light of Life is crucial for the graduate. After Light of Life staff follows the graduate for a year, they are connected with our latest graduates and seasoned alumni as mentors that help keep them connected for continued support.

SUSTAIN AND GROW

As a graduate in the Aftercare Phase of Light of Life’s program, you have gained employment, have become eligible for housing, and are completing ongoing support by staying connected to a Care Team Leader at the Mission.

22

Number of Graduates in 2022

ALUMNI

Alumni status is considered for ALL Light of Life graduates. Individuals have the option of choosing to be a part of Light of Life in some capacity if they wish after graduation. Graduates can choose to be a peer mentor, come back to volunteer in some capacity, or take part in alumni events or gatherings and keep in contact with other alumni. The Alumni Program helps the graduate stay connected to the Mission and build relationships with others who have gone through Light of Life’s Long-Term program.

KEEP MOVING FORWARD

Remain in community, retain employment, secure housing, sustain and share hope of life transformation!

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MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Be part of transforming lives through Light of Life.

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When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

John 8:12