Since we began in 2007, Here to Help has done a lot of work assisting returning citizens in successfully moving forward.
But we felt there was more we could do.
So, we created the Returning Hope to Returning Citizens program in August of 2020, which is a very personalized form of total assistance, from the time an individual walks out of prison. The program has been incredibly successful as we assist returning citizens on their path of success. The program is for those having been out of prison for less than a year (though there are exceptions) and includes help as follows:
STEP LADDER PROGRAM OF WAYS WE CAN HELP
1. Initially, we provide Walmart gift cards to help individuals obtain new clothing and basic necessities upon release from prison.
2. We provide resource guides, including how to obtain a State ID or Driver's License or Social Security card or a phone or seek counseling or substance abuse treatment etc. We can also get individuals an immediate appointment with the Secretary of State.
3. We provide detailed referral sources for obtaining immediate employment or job training and education for skilled trade jobs/vocational schooling. Our contacts allow us to place someone in a job immediately.
4. Once employment is obtained or schooling begins (or SSD/SSI begins), we can provide further Walmart gift cards for additional needs, including things like required work-related clothing etc. We also help with bus passes to get to work.
5. Where someone has a particular skill and their job requires tools or equipment, we can obtain those items as well.
6. The next step is helping someone move into a residence of their own. We provide a resource guide of available housing from apartments to houses/flats to rooms as we seek to match the needs and income level of the individual to find a feasible housing situation. We can also provide assistance with negotiation of the lease etc.
7. Once a residence is obtained and a lease is ready to be signed, we will then determine if the rent etc. will be doable based on the person’s income etc. If so, we can go 50/50 with the returning citizen on the move-in costs of first month rent and the security deposit (up to a maximum of $1000.00 from us).
8. We can next help with furniture (mattress, box spring and frame, nightstand, lamp, couch and dining room table) and home furnishings (dishes, glasses, silverware, pots/pans, sheets, pillows, blankets, towels, mattress pad, pillowcases etc.)
9. After someone is living in their own place with their name on the lease and finds that transportation is a barrier in getting to work, we can help qualified individuals by providing a used vehicle (where it is established the applicant will be able to afford car insurance, repairs, maintenance etc.). This is all done through our Working Cars for Working People program and on that page of our website one can read the requirements for this program. One requirement being that the applicant must have $1000.00 to contribute, along with our $3000.00 towards the purchase of a car. They must also be able to show they will be able to afford car insurance and also have the ability to save for future car maintenance and repairs.
10. Lastly, we provide help in a variety or other ways including eyeglasses, phone bills, utilities, bicycles etc. And, also, if down the road a returning citizen encounters an emergency situation and they qualify for one of our other programs, then we can provide assistance to anyone meeting the requirements to these programs (such as Road Ready Repairs or Roof Over Head or Let's Keep the Lights On etc.).
At that time, the individual in need can apply for assistance directly from those other programs by completing the Application for the program which addresses their emergency. Please see: What Do We Help With?
So, we work with returning citizens from their new beginning and maintain a very personal relationship at every step of the way as he/she moves forward on his or her path to success. And we remain in close contact at all times for any means of assistance we can provide when an emergency situation arises.
This program results in wonderful stories of accomplishment and many of these stories can be found on our FACEBOOK PAGE.
Please note Here to Help assists those living in either Wayne or Oakland County only. Please see Requirement 1 on our Who Can We Help page for further info. We also do not assist those who were in jail. This program is for those coming back from prison and those having been out for less than a year (though there are exceptions).
If you or someone you know is a returning citizen and in need of assistance through this program, then simply click here to apply:
If you have any questions then just email Bob Schwartz at email@example.com .
We also are able to offer additional assistance including paying for job certification expenses, offering financial literacy help and mentoring and support groups, and engaging as a referral source for other organizations that assist returning citizens with record expungement, mental health care etc.
PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE HELPING SO MANY RETURNING CITIZENS THAT WE MUST ADHERE TO THE FOLLOWING POLICY. IF WE WERE HELPING YOU AN YOU THEN VIOLATED PAROLE OR WERE SENT BACK TO PRISON FOR ANY REASON (OR TO JAIL), WE WILL BE PROHIBITED FROM CONTINUING TO WORK WITH YOU. SIMILARLY, IF YOU HAVE VIOLATED PAROLE BEFORE YOU COMPLETE AN APPLICATION WITH US WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ASSIST.