For more than three decades, Jerusalem House has been providing housing and support to homeless and low-income individuals and families impacted by HIV/AIDS in Atlanta. The nonprofit, the oldest and largest of its kind, will be deepening its impact and support, as it was recently announced to be a recipient of a $200,000 grant from Gilead Sciences.
Jerusalem House operates on a model based in what president and CEO Maryum Lewis calls “wraparound support.”
“People are living and thriving with HIV,” she told Georgia Voice. “It is not a death sentence by any stretch of the imagination. So, as people come in with us, a lot of times they have gone through life situations or circumstances that have meant that they are struggling financially. Our aim is to provide the housing so they can maintain their health and become undetectable. In order to do that, we provide a wraparound support of services through case management to help them as an individual. The ultimate goal is for that family or individual to transition into whatever is next for them. A lot of times that looks like employment, so what we want to do while they’re with us is to focus our training and support skills so that when they leave us, they will have the best income possible [and] the best opportunity for sustainability in the future.”
Support from Jerusalem House looks like food support and groceries, transportation support, connection to medical providers, counseling support, and mental health services. Each resident has their own case manager, accessible whenever they need them, who works with them to determine what they need for success. Jerusalem House’s work is focused around not just temporary aid; the nonprofit is permanent supportive housing, so while they provide the tools and resources to foster self-sufficiency for each resident, they can stay as long as they need.
Jerusalem House will continue to offer this wraparound support with its 360° Education, Workforce Development and Life Skills Program, which the grant will fund.
[The program] provides employment training and coaching, it provides tools and resources,” Lewis said. “We also help people with entrepreneurship. We just introduced a lot of tools that are customized to whatever that specific resident needs to help them get to their next level … It is going to be customized to what a specific resident needs: career readiness, college readiness. It could be specific support; if they need a uniform, for example, or other specific tools. We’ve also had people interested in entrepreneurship, so it could look like somebody coming in to talk about what it looks like to start an LLC, what are the tax implications, what do you need to do, how do you market your business. It will look different with each specific resident, but the whole goal of it is that these supportive services will help you get to whatever is next for you as an individual.”
The $200,000 will be used directly to fund these supportive services, catered to each specific resident.
“That will look like training opportunities for people to come out, they’ll be meeting directly with coaches, consultants, different people who will come in and teach them about different topics that are important,” Lewis said. “We will also provide incentives for them that will help, that will include materials and different things they may need as they’re on their journey … [The grant is] just a resource for us to provide a deeper level of support than we’ve already been able to provide.”
While this new grant is significant and will extend Jerusalem House’s depth of support, they are always looking for help from the community. Those interested in assisting Jerusalem House’s work can donate or volunteer through their website, jerusalemhouse.org. If you have a specific skill set or resources that could benefit the residents, Lewis urges you to volunteer. If you would like to apply for assistance from Jerusalem House, contact Hope Atlanta at 404-574-1693 to start a supportive housing application.