A pandemic, an unemployment crisis and a reckoning over racial inequality triangulated in 2020, confirming what many already knew to be true: that the social safety net in America is tenuous, and whether or not it catches you when you fall may depend on who you are, what you look like and what paperwork you can navigate. The lines at food banks and the unemployment office have been long, and many Arkansans are one setback away from eviction, insurmountable medical debt or isolating depression. If you or someone you know could use some help, here are a few resources to tap in Central Arkansas. We can’t promise it will be easy, or that this list is exhaustive, but it’s a start.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services is a good jumping-off point, with connections to rental assistance, SNAP benefits and Medicaid benefits, including low- to no-cost health insurance through a program called Arkansas Works. Find DHS services at humanservices.arkansas.gov. And if you don’t find what you need there, or in our list below, Our House and C.A.R.E. (Central Arkansas Re-Entry Coalition) are among the organizations that maintain extensive directories of community relief resources.
Mental health and substance abuse
Call the Arkansas Crisis Center at 888-274-7472 if you or someone you know is considering suicide or exhibiting warning signs. Alternatively, call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 800-273-8255, or at 888-628-9454 for Spanish-speaking callers, or at 800-799-4889 for callers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
AR-Connect, a program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Psychiatric Research Institute, connects callers with relief for COVID-19-adjacent mental health issues, and maintains a 280-page manual of state programs that connect patients with other resources for relief and assistance. 501-526-3563.
North Little Rock’s Bridgeway Hospital offers inpatient services for children, seniors, adults and adolescents, including treatment of mood disorders, thought disorders and substance abuse issues. 501-771-1500, thebridgeway.com.
Little Rock’s Centers for Youth and Families offers same-day access to outpatient counseling services for children, teens and adults experiencing emotional or behavioral problems. Bilingual counselors are available and a range of insurance coverage types is accepted. 888-868-0023, centersforyouthandfamilies.net.
The Trevor Project offers crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth. Call 866-488-7386 or text START to 678678.
Little Rock-based Professional Counseling Associates operates five clinics across Pulaski, Lonoke and Prairie counties, with telehealth options available. PCA offers group and individual counseling, a Child and Adolescent Service System Program to help youth whose behavioral problems require assistance from multiple state agencies, and a Family Resource Center in North Little Rock with a movie room, “beauty room” and counseling sessions on finance, divorce, stress, relationships and other topics. 800-592-9503, pca-ar.org.
The Pointe Outpatient Behavioral Health Services operates 12 outpatient clinics across the state, treating children, teens and adults for depression, hyperactivity, anger problems, anxiety, family conflict and a range of other issues. 501-223-3322, thepointebhs.com.
Benton-based Rivendell Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas offers acute psychiatric care, partial hospitalization and inpatient services to treat addictive symptoms and mental illness in children, teens and adults. Telehealth options are available. 501-316-1255, rivendellofarkansas.com.
Arkansas AA Central Service Office connects people with times, dates, locations and contacts for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings across the state. 501-664-7303, arkansascentraloffice.org.
Al-Anon and Alateen provide a support network for friends and family members of people with alcoholism. Find meeting times, digital and in-person, at arkansasalanon.org/meeting.
Narcotics Anonymous connects recovering drug addicts with monthly meetings and resources. Find a list of virtual and in-person meetings at the Central Arkansas Area Service Committee chapter website at caasc.org.
A variety of inpatient and outpatient detox, rehabilitation and drug treatment facilities operate in the Little Rock area. See Our House’s directory at ourhouseshelter.org/resources, and Central Arkansas Re-Entry Coalition’s (C.A.R.E.) directory at arkansasreentry.com.
Housing assistance and temporary shelter
Jericho Way, a temporary shelter run jointly by DePaul USA and the city of Little Rock, offers day center services on weekdays, including computer access, case management, laundry services and job counseling. 501-916-9859.
Our House runs an 80-bed shelter program and a Family House for a limited number of homeless and near-homeless people, plus programs in career development, mental health and early child development. 501-374-7383, ourhouseshelter.org.
The Van offers street-level outreach services, delivering food, hygiene products, clothing, flashlights and more to unsheltered people in the Little Rock area. 501-955-3444, itsthevan.org.
The ministry-based Little Rock Compassion Center operates a men’s and women’s shelter for temporary (14-day) stays, a food pantry, a kitchen that serves three meals a day and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. 501-296-9114.
Lucie’s Place offers shelter and relief resources to LGBTQ+ people living in Central Arkansas. 501-508-5005, luciesplace.org.
The Veterans Day Treatment Center offers veterans access to VA programs, including residential placement at its St. Francis House. 501-244-1900, stfrancishouselr.org.
Women and Children First offers shelter to women and children, particularly victims of domestic violence. 501-376-3219, wcfarkansas.org.
Arkansas Department of Workforce Services administers unemployment benefits. Call 501-682-2121 or visit dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment to check eligibility and file an unemployment claim.
The Arkansas Employment Career Center provides young adults, veterans, the homeless and others in need with GED prep, college entrance assistance, resume development, job referrals, and other forms of job counseling. 501-615-8922, arkansasemploymentcareercenter.com.
The Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) connects in-person visitors with free tax preparation sites in Pulaski County. Visit 700 W. Capitol, Suite 1412, Little Rock, or make an appointment by calling 844-545-5640.
Arkansas Community Organization (A.C.O.) provides income tax preparation services to low-income Arkansas households, as well as credit counseling and resources for financial literacy. 501-376-7151, arkansascomm.org.
The UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law offers a legal clinic most years in January. Call the tax clinic at 501-916-5424 to check availability.
Legal Aid of Arkansas offers free income tax assistance to low-to-moderate income people who cannot prepare their own taxes, with Spanish-speaking interpreters available. Call 501-975-3770 to make an appointment.
Visit foodpantries.org or ourhouseshelter.org/resources for a list of open food pantries.
Medical, dental and eye care
ARCare offers general medical clinics and referrals. 501-455-2712.
UAMS Dental Hygiene Student Clinic allows dental students to perform routine dental care services for $40/visit. 501-686-5733.
River City Ministry: Day Services for the Homeless offers eye exams and dental visits to Pulaski County residents at a cost of $5 cash/visit; call 501-376-6694 to make an eye appointment, and call at 10 a.m. sharp on Thursdays to make a dental appointment.
Shepherds Hope Neighborhood Health Center offers monthly eye clinics to residents of the 72204 and 72209 zip codes by appointment. Call 501-614-9523, Ext. 2 to make an appointment.
College Station Clinic offers dental care and medical exams by appointment, with copays based on income (proof of income and Social Security card required). 501-490-2440.
Domestic violence, child Abuse and adult maltreatment
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
The Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence works to stop domestic violence, teen dating abuse. 501-907-5612, domesticpeace.com.
Women and Children First, a facility that provides temporary shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children, also operates a crisis intervention line, court advocates to assist in filing orders of protection and accompanying survivors to court, and other forms of counseling. 501-376-3219, wcfarkansas.org.
Dorcas House: A Division of Union Rescue Mission offers a 9-month program for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse, with an adjacent substance abuse recovery program. 501-374-4022, urmissionlr.org/dorcas-house.
Resources for immigrants and undocumented Arkansans
El Zocalo Immigrant Resource Center connects immigrant individuals and families with a variety of resources and relief. 501-301-4652, zocalocenter.com.
ARKids is a medical insurance program for children administered by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Spanish-speaking interpreters available. 888-474-8275.
Catholic Immigration Services helps immigrant individuals and families with legislative advocacy, preparation of immigration forms and other counseling services, including counseling for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. 501-664-0340.
Center for Arkansas Legal Services provides free legal services to low-income Arkansas residents in noncriminal cases, and has Spanish-speaking interpreters available. 501-376-3423, arkansaslegal.org.
Resources for creators and artists
Nonprofit venture Creator’s Village seeks to connect artists, musicians and creators with mentorships, industry tools and business skills to help them make a living in Arkansas. Creatorsvillage.org.
The Center for Cultural Community links creative professionals with advice and resources for financial health, health care access, networking and career management. Centerforculturalcommunity.org/contact.