Thursday, June 13, 2024

Best Places to Work 2023: Providence House

by BIZ Magazine

Providence House is on a mission to break the homeless cycle in Northwest Louisiana one family at a time. The organization opened its doors in 1988 when two members of First Presbyterian Church, Mary Anne Selber and Jean Sayres, recognized a need for shelter services for homeless families with children.

In 2015, Verni Howard brought her corporate and non-profit banking experience to Providence House when she was named Executive Director. Under her leadership, the Child Development Center earned and kept a 4-Star rating, the agency has twice been listed as one of the Best Places to Work in Shreveport-Bossier, and dreams of an in-house calming studio have become reality.

Children are the core factor that separates Providence House from other shelters. Single women, single men, and married couples are housed together with their children where they learn and grow together. They are given the chance to start again, find hope, and gain the independence that they have never had or once lost.

In addition to the necessities of shelter, food, and clothing, residents are provided individualized, comprehensive support services to address the core barriers that led to homelessness. These services include education, workforce development, child care, parenting courses, financial literacy, and more. The ultimate goal is to move each family toward their highest level of self-sufficiency. To date, 655 families have graduated from Providence House!


CEO/President: Verni Howard

Current Employees: 38

Average Employee Tenure:10 years

Culture: The Providence House Team is a true example of a healthy work family. While our work is often a daunting task, we do it every day with pride and intentionality- we want our families to succeed; all of them. Our 38-member team is derived from every walk of life- corporate America, service industry, government and former residents. Together, we understand the mission and goals of the agency and we do what it takes to serve everyone- well. I love the laughter in the building! Staff members support one another, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, serve our community and we have mastered work-life balance. We look out for one another! We encourage one another to grow both personally and professionally. Above all, we show up for one another- EVERY DAY! We support everyone’s children, we go to the school plays and celebrate victories- graduation, good grades or just learning something new. What I love most about our work culture is the value that every team member brings to the agency. 

Vitality: Providence House has tracked program outcomes and success since 1992. The data has been the key driver to program structure, benchmarks and outcomes. Our full 2022 Impact Report has been shared with our funders and posted to our website. The highlights include: 1) 4-STAR rating (Child Development Center) by Louisiana Department of Education for the 5th consecutive year. Our Center is one of the highest rated in Louisiana. 2) 412 people were served (166 adults and 246 children) 3) 161 Families were housed 4) 142 Families received aid from homelessness prevention grant funding; they remained housed! 5) 12,961 Nights of lodging were provided through the emergency shelter 6) 19,718 Meals were served 7) 30 Certifications were earned through our Workforce Development Program and 7 Phlebotomy Certifications through our partnership with LifeShare Blood Center 8) 221 Counseling Sessions were completed (families and children) 9) $291,290 In-Kind Donations were extended to support our programs and families 10) 48 Families received rental and utility assistance through a private grant extended to Providence House from Centerpoint Energy Families start with absolutely nothing and leave whole- in tact, with the skills and support to remain self-sufficient for their lifetime.

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