The non-profit organization, headed up by Minister Walter Walker, does this by simultaneously addressing the most critical barriers faced by homeless men and women and those coming out of prison, namely housing, employment, health care, education, counseling and mentoring.
A Higher Calling operates four homes on Louise Lane as temporary shelters for homeless men and those just our of prison with no where to go, Walker said. Currently there are 27 men, including 14 homeless and 13 parolees.
Along with housing and clothing, food and counseling, the men have the opportunity to work and earn money in one of three businesses A Higher Calling operates. These include lawn care, construction/contracting and a mobile car wash.
They also help maintain and fix up properties where they live. “We give them a decent place to stay and teach them how to keep it up,” Walker said. “They learn to appreciate what they have and to take care of it.”
The men stay from 30 up to 90 days, depending on their progress and case management needs, with a goal of reintegration. There is help with job training, job readiness as well as health and legal issues.
The goal is to provide clients with the tools necessary to become a self-sufficient, taxpaying and law-abiding member of the community-at-large. “Our goal is to get them from homeless to residency to independent living,” Walker said,
A Higher Calling works with a variety of state, federal and local agencies and has memorandums of understanding with most, including Hope Health Clinic, Southern Crescent Technical College, the Department of Labor, Personnel Options and Pathways Community Service Board.
A Higher Calling received two grants of $20,000 each from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for the homeless shelter and for a street outreach program. Both included more than $56,000 of in-kind donations of time by volunteer case managers.
Walker is working to open a shelter for women and children in the near future and to expand the shelter services for the homeless and formerly imprisoned. For more information about A Higher Calling, please see www.ahighercalling.org, or call Walker at 678-603-2880 or 404-438-8229.