The Wellspring receives $1.25 million grant to help combat homelessness in NELA

The Wellspring receives $1.25 million from Bezos Day 1 families fund
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 6:28 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Wellspring in Monroe, LA has been awarded a $1.25 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund.

The foundation provides 40 nonprofits across the U.S. with the grant, with the goal of supporting families experiencing homelessness.

Executive director of the Home Coalition, Sarah Johnson, who works closely with the Wellspring on homelessness, says this grant has the potential to spark a massive change for the community.

“This grant… from the Bezos foundation to the Wellspring is a miracle, frankly, to what it’s going to mean for the families of our region,” Johnson says.

Johnson says solving homelessness is not something that can be done quickly.

“The answer to homelessness is not something that you stop today; it’s the kind of thing you need to have adequate services available so that when a household becomes homeless, they can immediately get off the streets and then get the help they need to address the problem that led to their homelessness to start with,” Johnson says.

CEO and President of the Wellspring, Caroline Cascio, says they haven’t decided where to allocate the grant money yet, but they recognize a major need for an emergency shelter.

She says in order for this grant to have a long-term effect, they still need the community’s support.

“People think, ‘oh gosh they got a grant of this size, they don’t need my dollars’ but actually…the opposite is very true because this is the seed that can really grow to transform our community, but it’s gonna take continued support over the long term to be able to do that,” says Cascio.

Cascio says they plan to invest some of the money toward resource development and growing their services. This will help them evaluate the root cause of homelessness for some individuals and how they can prevent it.

“That, you know, might be job placement, that might be mental health, that might be a substance abuse treatment, that might be just helping someone in the interim while they get back on their feet,” Cascio says.