How to Get Involved with Camillus House Charities
Six decades of unconditional love and care. When Camillus House was established in Miami-Dade County in 1960, the charity would not have anticipated that its small, overnight shelter would blossom into a full-service center that serves more than 34,000 individuals and families. This year alone, Camillus House is projected to serve over 12,500 men, women, and children.
If you’re curious about Camillus House projects, or how you can become involved in helping the homeless or impoverished in the Miami-Dade community, you’ve come to the right place.
What is Camillus House?
Camillus House is a Miami-based charity established by the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd in 1960. Considered one of the largest and oldest service providers caring for the homeless in South Florida, Camillus House has its origins in the compassionate Hospitality of St. John of God. What was once a humble overnight shelter has rapidly expanded into a multi-faceted operation, which includes physical center locations as well as Camillus members who actively engage with the local homeless community.
Camillus operates under the belief that every human life is precious and is deserving of love, respect, and a chance to live a dignified life. As such, the charity spearheads life-changing programs for victims of human trafficking, individuals suffering from physical and mental illness or substance abuse disorders, and homeless veterans seeking a place within society. Their mission is to improve the overall quality of life for the nearly 4,000 individuals who make up Miami-Dade’s homeless population.
How Does Camillus House Help South Florida?
For over 60 years, Camillus House has provided a comprehensive “system of care” for the poor and homeless in South Florida. This specially-designed system has been established as a seamless, step-by-step process geared towards reallocating life on the street to healthy, permanent housing. Aside from providing a place to safely rest their heads and eat a warm meal, Camillus House also offers fully-integrated services to improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of its visitors.
These humanitarian services are provided through a variety of program areas.
Providing a Continuum of Housing and Hospitality
Where some of South Florida’s homeless population has been on the street for decades, others have recently lost their livelihoods due to job termination, substance abuse, or abusive relationships. Camillus House is prepared to accommodate both the long-term and newly homeless population through targeted programs. For instance, the Continuum of Housing provides emergency, transitional, and permanent housing.
For the recently homeless, emergency services can help reverse the situation and quickly provide individuals with a safe place to call home. Individuals who have been homeless for longer can utilize transitional and permanent housing to shift gradually into society. Similarly, all individuals can use Camillus House Compassionate Hospitality services, which provide basics like food, showers, clean clothing, outreach, case management, and rent assistance.
Treating Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues
Substance abuse is a significant issue among the South Florida community. Likewise, mental health disorders and emotional duress are highly prevalent among the homeless population. Camillus House offers Compassionate Healing as a method of treating both substance abuse and mental health issues among its visitors. To receive treatment, an individual simply has to contact the charity, arrive at its Miami location, or speak with one of Camillus House’s 135 staff members.
Assisting Disabled Persons in the Community
Aside from individuals struggling with mental disabilities, Camillus House also assists the disabled in the South Florida community. Its programs are readily accessible to and usable by disabled individuals, including those who are blind, deaf, hard of hearing, or who have other sensory impairments. A full range of assistive and communication aid are also available free of charge to help any disabled individual express their needs and concerns.
Managing the Spread of COVID-19
In addition to the primary Camillus House humanitarian services, the charity also spearheads Camillus Health Concern, a sister organization that provides healthcare services to the South Florida community. Camillus Health Concern manages a variety of services, from pediatrics and adult primary care to a number of specialties. The organization has been critical while regulating the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the homeless community.
If an individual has tested positive, a Camillus team member transports them to a hotel site for quarantine and isolation, as well as necessary medical and nutritional attention. In particular, the Camillus House Lazarus Project offers meals and medications to homeless individuals with severe mental disorders. The care package also includes snack bags, personal protection equipment, and testing when needed.
How Can You Get Involved with Camillus House?
If you’re inspired by the charitable actions of Camillus House, now is the time to get involved. There are several methods of assisting Camillus House in their efforts. For one, you can help with a financial or in-kind donation. For an in-kind donation, goods and services, such as food or clothing, are provided in place of money, which is often used to buy needed goods and services.
Alternatively, volunteers also play a vital role at Camillus House. Camillus House volunteers from the local community, including students and teachers from high schools and the University of Miami, participate in support of the efforts. Camillus House offers a wide array of ongoing and project-related assignments, so volunteers can participate each week or for special events at the Miami charity.
South Florida entrepreneurs and philanthropists also volunteer in leadership roles within the charitable organization. Paul Lowenthal, investor, consultant and advisor serves as the Camillus House Chairman of the Board. Xavier Gonzalez, CEO at eMerge Americas, Jeff Bartel, chairman and managing director of Hamptons Group, Peter “Chip” Vandenberg, Partner at Trivest Partners, have all been Camillus House Board of Directors members.
Join Camillus House in Their Efforts Today
Now more than ever, the Miami community is in need of love and understanding. In the midst of a global pandemic and economic turbulence, Camillus House has been a shining light for the South Florida homeless community. Whether you donate, volunteer, or even share Camillus House details with friends and family, there’s never been a better time to help give back to our city.