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2000 Best Practice Awards

Best of the Best Winner: Louisiana

Best Practice: Community Support Program, Inc. Crossroads, Portals, Portico and Transitions Programs

Programs Assist Mentally Ill with Independent Living Skills

Shreveport, Louisiana. The core mission of Community Support Programs (CSP), Inc., a private nonprofit organization, is to provide individualized services and foster independence, resulting in programs designed to fit the individual. Through its programs, CSP seeks to insure self-reliance for the mentally ill homeless, for adoptive and foster families and those in danger of having their children removed from the home. CSP is achieving its mission through four programs: CROSSROADS, PORTALS, PORTICO and TRANSITIONS.

For 10 years, CROSSROADS has provided 45 day emergency shelter for homeless (or

Peggy Shemwell, Sheila Wells & Veronica Stitson receiving award from Secretary Cuomo & Deputy Secretary Ramirez
Peggy Shemwell, Sheila Wells and Veronica Stitson receiving Best of the Best award from Secretary Cuomo (l) and Deputy Secretary Ramirez (r)

those at risk of becoming homeless) chronically mental ill adults. Participants receive room and board, medication education and monitoring, skills training in daily living and linkages to available housing, jobs and other community resources and support. Staff works with clients to identify and work on goals with an emphasis on mental health stabilization and treatment compliance and securing permanent or transitional housing. CSP contracted with the State of Louisiana’s Office of Mental Health to establish the program.

The PORTALS offers a resource center, crisis respite and support services for adoptive and foster families. Significant research to establish which services promote permanency of placements and reduce neglect and abuse is a part of this program. CSP contracted with the Louisiana Department of Social Services’ Office of Community Services (OCS) to provide services to families in need.

The PORTICO program provides counseling, parent training, family activities, support groups, mentoring and self-help resources and a welcome rest to families in danger of having their children taken from them. Once again, the state’s OCS supplies support services to families. Referrals to the program come through OCS and the Families in Need of Services program. Through the TRANSITIONS program, chronically mentally ill homeless adults receive individualized service focusing on effective mental health management, training in independent living skills and linkages to available community resources and supports. CSP designed the two-year program to assist the client in gaining independent living skills. Services include medication education, budgeting, meal preparation, grocery shopping, coping skills and employment preparation. Many clients who have successfully completed the program have obtained vocational training and employment skills.

A strength of CSP is its effort in building effective partnerships with other service organizations. CSP effectively utilizes government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses to provide numerous support services. After determining what services the client needs, CSP may refer the individual to Goodwill Industries for employment services or other agencies. CSP’s partnerships with organizations and agencies such as the YMCA, Noel Methodist Church, Louisiana State University at Shreveport, the Salvation Army, the Social Security Administration and Louisiana Rehabilitation Services have generated a significant impact on those served and the community.

Contact: Margaret Shemwell, Phone: (318) 221-7978
Tracking Number: 150
Winning Category: Program (Housing - Multifamily)

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Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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