Valdosta Daily Times

June 12, 2013

New mission: LAMP focuses on homeless

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Call it a rebranding or a new mission, Lowndes Associated Ministries to People has changed its focus.

In the past, LAMP seemed an organization that wanted to be too many things for too many people. It provided food; it provided funds to help people pay utilities; it provided numerous other services which other organizations also provide. LAMP offered so many things that it not only became difficult to provide each service, it was difficult defining the organization to the public.

With its new aim, LAMP representatives Chris LaMontagne and Harriet Messcher say the organization has streamlined its services. LAMP now concentrates on helping the growing number of homeless people and homeless families in South Georgia.

In 2012, LAMP housed 356 individuals in its shelters; served 53,623 meals in the shelter; provided 15,188 bed nights; assisted more than 300 homeless individuals through the Day Center; provided more than 18,000 services to 534 individuals.

To help these homeless individuals and families, LAMP concentrates on the following programs:

— Homeless Shelter. Provides emergency and long-term housing for homeless families, single parents, and single women with the goal of returning them to self-sufficiency.

— Day Center. This offers a place where homeless people not wanting to live in the shelter can meet their daily needs: laundry, facilities, rest rooms, showers, toiletries, contact point for long-distance family and friends, refuge from extreme weather.

— Outreach Services. Works with the unsheltered homeless.

— Empowerment Classes. Provided in the homeless shelter, these classes teach residents money management, stress and time management; parenting; resume writing; job interviewing skills; computer classes; GED classes.

— Social business programs. Through professional house-cleaning, LAMP’s Clean Sweep program offers people the opportunity to work, learn how to build accounts and operate a small business.

— Create self-sustaining habits in residents. LaMontagne and Messcher note that 75 percent of people completing LAMP programs never need assistance again.

Self-sufficiency is LAMP’s chief goal, stressing the adage of offering a hand up rather than a hand out.

LaMontagne and Messcher also hope to introduce more Valdosta residents and clubs to what LAMP has to offer. They hope to arrange shelter tours with groups to raise awareness of how the region can help the homeless.

More information on how to schedule a tour, on services, or to make a donation: Contact Lowndes Associated Ministries to People, 601 N. Lee St.; or call (229) 245-7157; or visit