In operation for 20 years, Jericho Road Ministries provides a wide range of services for people in need. Over the years, the organization has continued to expand its programming to meet the changing needs of the Brooksville, Florida, community and help as many individuals as possible.
The organization offers temporary shelter programs for families, as well as services to help individuals struggling with homelessness or extreme poverty. The goal of these programs is to fulfill people’s immediate needs with daily meals, a safe place to sleep, clothing, and personal hygiene items.
Other services offered by Jericho Road include vocational training, GED tutoring, and addiction recovery support. Additionally, a food barn provides free emergency food assistance to the community. The organization also operates a handful of thrift stores to fund its outreach efforts to the local homeless community.
The New Life Program
One of the most successful initiatives at Jericho Road is the New Life Program. The program is designed to guide people through the steps necessary to become independent after a period of homelessness. Before starting the program, the organization requires that individuals stay three consecutive nights in a Jericho Road shelter.
Program clients then enter the transitional phase, which lasts for up to a month. During this time, they learn about the objectives and requirements of the New Life Program while starting work therapy, which is designed to build everyday skills like cleaning, cooking, and housekeeping. In addition, participants attend addiction recovery classes and Bible studies. The focus of the transitional period is on establishing a new status quo and affirming that this is the right choice while getting a better handle on the work involved.
After the transitional period, clients progress to the probation phase. During this phase, program administrators ensure that clients adhere to all of the requirements of the program and meet its standards of behavior. This period, which lasts for four weeks or more, involves more classwork, as well as program planning and counseling. Participants are not allowed to visit with anyone, nor can they make phone calls or have written correspondence. In addition, this phase involves random drug and alcohol screenings. All of this work culminates with entry into the actual heart of the program, which involves three distinct phases.
Phase One of the New Life Program – Laying Foundations
Phase One of the New Life Program lasts for 12 weeks. The core of this phase consists of coursework in addiction recovery and life management, as well as Bible study. Clients are asked to attend services at Jericho Road’s chapel, including morning devotionals and weekly worship services. For four hours each day, clients engage in work therapy and community service, which helps them build job skills and instills in them a sense of accountability and integrity. Each person also participates in individual counseling sessions and group discussions.
At this point, participants are considered volunteers, not employees. After 10 weeks, however, clients begin job and vocational counseling. This specialized counseling helps individuals identify potential opportunities for part-time employment. At this point, clients also gain the privilege of on-site visits with members of their immediate family. Completion of the phase involves opening a bank account with a financial institution, obtaining part-time employment, and completing all involved classwork, which comes with a diploma to mark the accomplishment. Then, participants move on to Phase Two.
Phase Two of the New Life Program – Budgeting for the Future
Phase Two largely builds on the foundation laid in the first part of the program. Individuals continue to attend Bible study courses, worship services, and morning devotions, as well as individual counseling and group discussion sessions. In addition, clients are expected to continue with their four hours of daily community service or work therapy. The primary focus during this phase of the program is preparing financially and logistically for independence. With some financial counseling, participants figure out how they will cover the costs involved with probation, fines, and any other debts. Clients are also expected to address any issues involved with their driver’s licenses.
As clients become better at budgeting, they eventually determine the cost of living independently, including rent and transportation. Any money earned during this time goes into a previously established bank account, as Jericho Road covers the cost of living. These savings provide a cushion for when clients move into their own housing, after leaving the program. Because clients who have reached this point have shown greater responsibility, they are given permission to visit offsite with family members, provided they receive former approval. Upon graduating from Phase Two, clients receive a diploma.
Phase Three of the New Life Program – Learning to Live Independently
Once participants have obtained full-time employment, they are permitted to move on to the final stage of the New Life Program. At this point, clients continue to participate in worship services, counseling, and addiction recovery classes when their work schedules permit it. Because the focus is now on full-time employment and maintaining that job, participants are only asked to complete eight hours of community service or work therapy per week.
Outside of their full-time job, clients are expected to continue to focus on spiritual growth and achieving the goals they set for themselves. At this time, clients make the preparations they need to transition to independent housing. Again, money earned during this phase is placed in the client’s bank account to cover the cost of starting a new life, which happens after he or she secures independent housing.