In The Spotlight: The Lord’s Place of West Palm Beach, Florida
Date:  08-18-2014

An organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness opens its doors to formerly incarcerated men and women (and their children)
When Reentry Central asked reentry programs around the country to tell us about their organizations we knew that many people getting out of prison often end up homeless. We were therefore pleasantly surprised to learn that the majority of the reentry programs that responded back to us provide a safe and supportive environment for those reentering citizens. Such is the case with The Lord’s Place in West Palm Beach, Florida, which aids men, women and families.

The website of The Lord’s Place (TLP) will tell you that it is a non-sectarian, non-profit organization whose focus is on breaking the cycle of homelessness. Last year TLP provided supportive housing for 339 men, women and children who otherwise would have had no place to live. The organization also has a job-training and education component which helped 138 formerly homeless people find work.

Most of the people TLP serves have been incarcerated and have come out of prison with no money or stable living arrangements. TLP provides the following statistics on its website that relate to its homeless re-entrants:

  • 81% Is the rate of past jail/prison stays among homeless participants at The Lord’s Place.

  • 22% Is the percentage of alumni who report an arrest since program exit.

  • $26,600 Is the average cost of a stay at the county jail.

  • 139 Is the number of people not arrested as a result of housing programs at The Lord’s Place.

  • $3,697,400 Is the savings to the community in reduced jail stays.

  • $10,907 Is the savings in reduced jail stays per person served.

    Besides offering a safe place to live, The Lord’s Place also provides job training at one of their social enterprises. TLP describes these enterprises as:

  • Café Joshua’s Catering, providing "full-service catering for businesses and other non-profit organizations throughout Palm Beach County. All proceeds from this business venture benefit the programs and services of The Lord’s Place. Select graduates of our food services apprenticeship program, directed by highly-trained staff with extensive experience in the catering industry, work for our company and gain valuable experience in food preparation and service. This helps them in their efforts to gain outside employment."

  • The Urban Garden at The Lord's Place Men's Campus , which "supplies a variety of vegetables and herbs to the Café Joshua culinary arts program at The Lord's Place West Palm Beach campus. The apprentices in our food service training program use the produce to create meals that feed the needy at the café every day. Produce from the garden is sold to local restaurants, such as Harold's Coffee Lounge."

  • The Lord’s Place Thrift Store, "a retail shop that benefits the organization in many ways:

    Proceeds from sales at the store directly support the programs and services of The Lord’s Place.

    It provides an opportunity for formerly homeless clients to complete customer service apprenticeship training in a retail setting. Vouchers are given to clients to “purchase” clothing, furniture and other essential items at no cost."

    See the video that shows how one man beat the odds and, under the guidance of The Lord’s Place, became a productive member of society.

    Learn more about The Lord’s Place here.