Support Services: Here to Help

Have you ever been given directions that a person thinks are complete, but are missing a few steps? Like when someone says, “Go toward the gas station, turn right, go down three blocks, turn left, go past the restaurant and it will be a little ways down on your right.”

Which gas station? How many streets make a block? Which restaurant? How far is “a little ways”?

Getting to a new place can be difficult when you don’t have all the information or are expected to know something unfamiliar. And it often takes more steps than you might have thought when you started.

For men at Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities (UGMTC), this is often how they feel. Systems and spaces can be unfamiliar, and there are often more steps than they anticipate to get what they need. Some men need identity documents. Others need help getting ready for a job interview. Still others need help navigating the medical insurance system. Many don’t know where to begin.

Licensed Social Workers in Support Services come alongside our guests and residents to help make the path toward a person’s goals as easy as possible. If you need it, they can help. In June, the team was involved in over 200 interactions for nearly 100 unique individuals.

Last month, a man came to Support Services to ask for help getting a replacement Social Security card so he could work. After speaking with the man, our team gave him a map to the Social Security Card Center located in Minneapolis, its hours of operation, and bus fare. They also let him know that once he applies in person, he could request a receipt that should suffice for his new job so he can start working without waiting for the replacement in the mail.

On top of that, he mentioned that he had misplaced his birth certificate. Our team invited him to return when he had more time in order to apply for his birth certificate from out of state at no cost to him and could have it sent to the Mission to ensure he receives it. During this entire interaction, staff noticed the man was straining to see the paperwork. Our team offered him some readers, and he was thrilled to experience a significant improvement in his reading ability.

This man left the office that day with a way to start his job sooner, a path to obtain multiple identification documents, and glasses for improved vision.

Most of the time, our team can meet the needs of our men internally through resources within Support Services, our Adult Education and Training Program, or our Mental Health Clinic. Other times, our team can point men in the right direction by connecting them to trusted organizations, businesses or people. We use all avenues possible to get our guests and residents headed in the right direction to meet their goals.

Recently, a man at the Mission needed to make an appearance in court. During his time staying with us, he has developed a trusted relationship with staff in Support Services through multiple visits. When the time came to head to the courthouse, he was hesitant to go with only his newer case manager through a community provider. A simple, “Do you want me to go with you? Will you go then?” from one of our staff resulted in an immediate “yes” and shifted his comfort level immensely. Our staff went along as a secondary support, joining him, his community case manager and legal representation in court to stand before the judge, getting him one step further in his journey.

Sometimes, Support Services looks like paperwork and bus fare, and other times it looks like a familiar presence walking with a man while he takes hard and necessary steps forward.

Support Services is always willing to help.