Hospitality Services is the oldest and probably most well known of the services offered at Camillus House. Its primary purpose is to ensure that each client's basic human need for food, clothing and overnight shelter are met.
Since people who are hungry, or cold, or sleeping on the street cannot begin to address the larger issues that prevent them from leading a fulfilling life, Hospitality Services focuses on providing the immediate care they need.
Hospitality encompasses two primary program areas:
• Direct Care Ministry, which includes overnight shelter, showers, clothing exchange, mail services, telephone usage, public restrooms, and basic referrals and information.
• Food Services.
Hospitality serves as an essential entry point into the full continuum of care services offered by Camillus, as many clients who initially visit in search of basic services decide to access the other programs available.
Direct Care Ministry
Camillus House offers a range of services to persons living on the streets. The program is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Specific services include:
A Client Services Specialist serves as the first primary contact for most homeless persons who come to the Day Center for services. The Services Specialist assists clients in obtaining immediate needs, such as food, showers or clothing; provides information regarding services available; and provides hygiene items, such as soap, toothpaste and combs. Other types of assistance immediately available include bus tokens, water, foot lotion and other small items. Public restrooms and water fountains also are available.
Camillus offers free mail service, whereby persons who are homeless can use Camillus as a mailing address in order to send and receive mail. Incoming mail is sorted on a daily basis, and the names of all persons with mail pending are posted so that individuals know when to pick up their mail. Clients can make free local phone calls, or long distance calls with approval.
Homeless persons may obtain a free, “Camillus House” picture ID, which often serves as their only form of ID. Camillus also recently entered into a partnership with the 11th Judicial Circuit Court Criminal Mental Health Project, and Partners in Crisis, to begin producing special ID cards for clients with mental illness. Participation for clients is strictly voluntary. The cards serve two purposes: first, they provide clients with some sort of identification; second, they alert police who may encounter the client on minor incidents that the client should be taken to a mental health facility rather than to jail.
In addition, Camillus assists clients who have lost all of their ID in re-establishing their identity by obtaining birth certificates, social security cards and other forms of ID vital to helping them obtain housing and employment.
Camillus offers free, hot showers for men four days per week, and for women three days per week. Clients can obtain a free exchange of clean clothing, in conjunction with the shower program, or via special referral.
The meal program at Camillus House offers free, nutritious meals to the hungry of Miami-Dade County. Seven days a week, individuals are provided with a hot, complete meal. No questions are asked; no identification is required; and no limits are put on who can eat. An average of 1,500 meals are served during this evening meal. The meal program also provides meals for clients of other Camillus House programs, including three (3) meals per day for the clients of the ISPA treatment program and breakfast for clients who have stayed in the emergency overnight dormitory shelter.
Bagged Lunches/ Food Boxes
The Food Services program puts together bagged lunches and food boxes for distribution to individuals and families on a daily basis. Bagged lunches are provided through the Day Center program, to clients who are unable to attend the afternoon meal or who need immediate food to take with medication. Food boxes are provided to individuals or families on a case-by-case basis, and typically help those whose food stamps have run out by the end of the month.
Camillus provides large amounts of food, as well as other donations, to other nonprofit organizations, including many local faith-based organizations. Since Camillus sometimes cannot use all of the food donations it receives before some of the food spoils or exceeds its expiration date, Camillus distributes the food to other organizations that don't have the same capacity as Camillus to receive and store food. Organizations requesting food must complete a simple application. Camillus then works with that organization to determine their needs and to establish a specific pick-up schedule.