Our Programs

The Bridge

The Bridge accommodates children from birth to 18 years of age. During their time at the Bridges all of their necessities are provided: food, clothing, shelter, recreation, job training, advocacy, education, as well as counseling by a staff therapist. Open Arms, Inc. provides a safe and structured environment for these children, allowing them time to heal and grow. Open Arms, Inc., through the Bridge, runs one of the few Emergency Shelters in southwest Georgia. This 12-bed home provides shelter to children from birth to 18 when they have been taken into care for the first time. A concerted effort was made to provide a more “home” like environment for the children. The Bridge is a residential home in a nearby community. It is a 6-bedroom home with 3-car garage converted into a playroom and a large concrete basketball court in the back yard. Therapy is provided at the home or at one of the local therapists’ offices.
The Runaway and Homeless Program uses The Bridge when placement is necessary for safety of a runaway or homeless child; otherwise the services are provided in home. It is important to note that the children served are confirmed victims of abuse and neglect. Most referrals are from the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), the Police, or the Courts. We also shelter runaway and homeless youth as part of the national initiative for Runaway and Homeless Youth. Once admitted to the facility the child’s physical needs for food, clothing and safety are met. A Human Services Professional addresses emotional needs through individual and group therapy after obtaining an assessment of the child’s needs. While in the shelter the children are involved in many scheduled activities. Life-skills building groups, arts & crafts, and recreational activities are provided throughout the week.

Runaway and Homeless Program

The purpose of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program is to reduce the number of runaway and homeless youth on the street or in crisis and to reduce the numbers of children reported to or taken into the custody local law enforcement and child protective service agencies due to youth being in crisis situations, familial dysfunction/poor family relationships, and non-compliant behavior. This program addresses the needs of runaway and homeless youth and their families by providing the following services: outreach, temporary emergency shelter, food, clothing, recreation, referrals to potential resource agencies (i.e. health care), counseling, and aftercare. The Runaway and Homeless Program is part of the Federal initiative to provide shelter and safety to runaway and homeless youth. As part of the Federal grant Open Arms, Inc. has a Crisis Line that is manned 24 hours per day allowing any youth in distress a contact number for safety. The Outreach Coordinator makes contact with the youth and if shelter is needed, it is provided at The Bridge. Youth admitted under this program receive all the services that The Bridge offers.
The youth are allowed to stay for up to 21 days. During this time, staff members provide intervention and investigative services. These services include, but are not limited to, family counseling, community referrals, resource awareness, parenting classes, and if the safety of a child is threatened, a report to the appropriate authority. The Runaway and Homeless Program also works with the youth and his/her family to reunify, if there is no danger to the child. Counseling is arranged and encouraged and an Aftercare Specialist follows up with the family for up to 1 year.

Transitional Living Program

The purpose of Open Arms, Inc.’s Transitional Living Program (TLP) is for TLP youth to successfully transition from their state of being a runaway or homeless youth to being a positive, self-sufficient, and productive citizen in our community. This program is structured to help older, homeless youth achieve self-sufficiency and avoid long-term dependency on social services and to decrease the negative involvement of law enforcement, juvenile justice programs, child welfare, and mental health stigma and/or misdiagnoses. Open Arms, Inc.’s TLP provides shelter, skills training, and support services to homeless youth ages 16 through 21 for a continuous period not exceeding 18 months. Our TLP provides services in supervised residential settings for at least seven youth, including pregnant and parenting homeless youth. Open Arms, Inc. offers client-specific life skills training to our residential clients that are identified in the initial intake assessment. Open Arms, Inc rewards clients when they do exceptionally well in any aspect of their Transitional Living Program plan.
Referrals continue to increase, and for those not served residentially, aid is offered in the form of identifying other potential resources or in the form of life skills training. Open Arms, Inc. has also provided emergency shelter placement, hotel placements, food, and transportation to youth who needed these services on a temporary basis in order to ensure their health and safety during the process of searching for a safe and permanent placement. Aftercare service through Open Arms, Inc is provided with the consent the youth for a minimum of three months. This allows a continuous flow of support after the youth has transitioned out from the TLP program by the consent of the youth. It is always the goal of Open Arms, Inc to ensure that all resources are explored and available when youth are no longer enrolled in the Transitional Living Program. The youth are referred to or offered the best available resources.

Street Outreach

Through this program, Open Arms, Inc. conducts outreach designed to build relationships between our staff and homeless street youth. The goal of these efforts is to help young people leave the streets. By building relationships with these youth, youth feel a sense of connectedness and are less hesitant about turning to Open Arms, Inc. when the realization of the dangers of street life becomes apparent to them. Consequently, the youth will be able to live free from violence, abuse, neglect, harassment, stalking, exploitation, and fear. Services provided to street youth include: outreach, shelter, survival aid, education to all youth and families on developing and maintaining healthy relationships and identifying and addressing abuse in all its forms, crisis prevention and intervention, counseling, aftercare services, mentoring, life skills training, and resource referrals. We provide these services directly or through collaboration with other agencies, specifically those working to protect and treat young people who have been, or who are at risk of being, subjected to sexual abuse or exploitation. In addition, we support young people through a positive youth development approach. This approach prevents young people’s involvement in risky behavior by helping them achieve their full potential. We focus on giving young people the chance and the choice to change their lives to improve their futures.

HUD Street Outreach

The Open Arms, Inc. HUD Street Outreach Program provides essential services necessary to reach out to unsheltered homeless people of all ages, prioritizing youth; connecting them with emergency shelter, housing, or critical services; and provide urgent, non-facility‐based care to unsheltered homeless people who are unwilling to exit the streets at the time of contact.

Maternity Group Home:

The Open Arms, Inc. Maternity Group Home (MGH) Program is a supervised scattered-site apartment design that houses and supports up to four youth at a time, with a maximum of two children each. Each apartment has 2-bedrooms. The 4 apartments are in one unit. Services are provided for up to 21 months, or until a youth turns 18 years old, if they enter a program at age 16. Our program staff and partners provide youth with skills in the areas of: parenting, money management, interpersonal skill-building, educational advancement, employment, mental and physical health care, individual and/or group counseling and parent/child counseling, and health and nutrition. Referrals are also made to social services, law enforcement, educational services, vocational training, welfare, legal services, health care programs, affordable child care, and child education programs. We also offer aftercare services for a minimum of 3 months to stay in contact with youth who have been served after they leave the program in order to ensure their ongoing safety and stability.

Rapid Re-Housing

The Open Arms, Inc. Rapid Re-Housing Program provides short-term rental assistance and services, with services ending once rental assistance terminates. We help people obtain housing quickly, increase self-sufficiency, and remain housed. The Core Components of this program include: housing identification, rent and move-in assistance, case management, and services.

Emergency Shelter (DCA):

The Open Arms, Inc. Emergency Shelter Program provides immediate shelter for individuals or families (youth are prioritized) that are literally homeless (e.g. living on the streets, in cars, places not meant for habitation, etc.). With an average stay of 30 days, clients stay in our shelter and their basic needs are met. During their time, a Housing First approach is used to assist them in removing any barriers that are preventing them from being permanently housed. The goal is that each person is able to secure permanent housing at discharge and do not re-enter homelessness again.