How it started?
In 2010, while reading the Oxford Eagle, Sherry Williams-Jenkins saw an announcement for a community-wide discussion on homelessness in Oxford and Lafayette County. From that initial meeting, a homeless task force emerged that helped to change the face of homelessness in Oxford and Lafayette County. Sherry, with the help of others, developed Doors of Hope Transition Ministries as one way to help change the face of homelessness.
As Doors of Hope Transition Ministries (DOHTM) developed through 2010 and 2011, a core group of committed people defined and developed its vision and mission:
The purpose of Doors of Hope Transition Ministries includes, but is not limited to, guiding homeless families and at-risk homeless families in Lafayette County, Mississippi toward self-reliance and stability through a holistic individualized approach that includes life-skills training, mentoring, and supportive housing.
DOHTM became a 501C3 organization in 2011, and housed its first client that year. In just one year, three clients had successfully managed the rigorous four-month program and the members of one family were in the process of changing their lives.
What is STEP?
The Self-Sufficiency Transitional Empowerment Program (STEP) is a program within DOHTM. The focus is to preserve and strengthen the family unit (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) so that members can learn to take care of themselves and their finances, as well as become contributing members of the community. Families with minor children are the primary target.
What does STEP provide?
- A loving, supportive, and nurturing Christian environment to live
- GED tutoring or vocational training referrals (if needed)
- Assistance in job location
- A case manager to help families work through problems that cause their homelessness
- Weekly instruction on how to manage money through budgeting and banking
- Weekly instruction in life skills (different for each family)
- An opportunity to save money
- Referrals to appropriate supportive agencies
- Assistance in finding permanent housing
- Shelter in a furnished apartment for 4 months
- And other services as needed