Partnership Adds Critical Mental Health Services at Samaritan Resource Center

The Samaritan Resource Center (SRC) began an important partnership with Lutheran Counseling Services on October 2, one that provides SRC clients, who are experiencing homelessness, with the opportunity for on-site mental health counseling as part of the services already offered.

Zeynep Portway, SRC executive director, said, “The need for counseling for our clients is real and this engagement with Lutheran Counseling Services will ensure we’re supporting our clients in all the necessary ways. We’ve always had the need, but today, in our current environment, the pandemic adds yet another layer of anxiety and worry for them. Providing this service at the point of need is critical.”

Lutheran Counseling Services works to create a safe place for people to change their story. They provide professional counseling, mental health education and consultation for all individuals, families, and communities seeking growth and renewal. For the initial plan with SRC, Lutheran will be on site once per week for four hours, taking the opportunity to get to know clients and providing counseling, but they can also make additional recommendations and provide more resources should clients require other help, like medicine.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year. But for those who are homeless, the numbers are significantly higher. A 2015 assessment by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development noted that on any given night in the U.S., the homeless population had a makeup of about 25 percent of seriously mentally ill, and about 45 percent had any mental illness.

Since its founding in 2013, SRC has provided case management and other crucial services to more than 3,000 homeless and at-risk people in east Orange County and its surrounding areas. Now, with the help of Lutheran Counseling Services, SRC can do even more for their clients.

“We continue to expand and grow our reach and services, and we hope to soon have more wraparound services on site,” Portway said. “Support from the community and partnerships like this one with Lutheran Counseling Services are invaluable and allow SRC the ability to make a direct impact on the people we’re helping every day.”

About Samaritan Resource Center

Samaritan Resource Center’s mission is to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty by meeting the physical and spiritual needs of the homeless and other at-risk folks in East Orange County. Since opening in 2013, the faith-based organization has served more than 3,000 clients by offering them unique services through partnerships and local resources. 

  SRC was formed through a partnership with several churches in East Orlando including, but not limited to, Grace Journey, Orlando Wesleyan, Spirit of Joy Lutheran, University Presbyterian, and Woodbury Presbyterian. The organization is always looking for more partnerships with churches, as well as other interested organizations and businesses that align with their mission.

About Lutheran Counseling Services

Since its inception in 1987, LCS has provided a wide range of confidential professional counseling and consulting services to thousands of Florida residents regardless of race, creed, gender, religion, or national origin. Originally founded by the Lutheran Church and local community leaders, Lutheran Counseling Services has grown into an independent nonprofit providing mental health counseling, training and consulting services to our local community and the nation. 

Access to quality mental health care is at the core of LCS’s mission. For every individual who is seen by a LCS counselor or therapist, they are met in a community space that is safe and familiar through a variety of partnerships with churches, schools, and older adult communities. By integrating staff within communities where people already feel safe, LCS reduces barriers to mental health services and creates a trusted environment to promote growth and healing.