Ending Homelessness … We Can See It
Yes, we provide the “numbers” involved, but when you put a face to those homeless statistics we report every week, it takes on a whole new meaning. That’s what led us to see a “solution” for homeless families in Brown County, regardless of the economic circumstances swirling around us. What we see for the future is a new “enterprise” in Northeastern Wisconsin whose overall goal is to impact our community in a very positive way; one that actively works to end (not lessen, not ease up, not “become manageable,” but eradicate) homelessness once and for all. We know it’s possible because we see it every day in the families whose lives we help change. All it takes is a “can do” attitude and the unconditional love of Christ.
We see a place that is not a “shelter” or a “program” or a “building” or even a “campus.” It’s a “community” where all the needs of homeless families with children are met – immediate and long term. It’s a place where they are safe, a place where they feel wanted and valued; and where they learn not only to weather the storm they are currently in, but to come out of that storm stronger and better equipped to handle the next one. Then they’re taught to make a difference, to BE the difference in giving back to the community. We call it an abundant life where families are taught how to survive, thrive and then come alive.
We see a place where our community’s most needy are taught, perhaps for the first time, that,
“You are more than the choices you have made, you are more than the sum of your past mistakes, you are more than the problems you create, you’ve been remade.” – “You Are More,” by Tenth Avenue North
Here, we identify the point of breakdown in each individual family so we can reach the root cause of that failure and break the cycle of poverty and homelessness – hopelessness – for all time.
It works because it’s customized to the unique problems and circumstances of each family – no “cookie cutter” approaches here!
We see a place where the hands and feet of Christ are at work, where the heart of Christ is visible and where the mind of Christ is in charge, teaching His children what He plans to do in them and through them.
Right now, it takes $87 every hour we exist to care for the people in house. That means $2,079 each and every day, $14,594 every week, $63,243 each and every month and $758,912 each year. And that’s just doing what we’re doing now, not to mention what more we feel compelled to do to meet the need in our community. That $87 means:
- Someone who didn’t eat yesterday is eating today.
- A mother who bundled her children in a car or out on the streets yesterday can tuck them into a warm, safe bed tonight.
- A father is learning what it means to be strong and compassionate and how to raise his kids so they don’t face the same hardships he did.
- A child who couldn’t concentrate in school because he didn’t know where he would wind up that night can now focus on learning, hope and a future.
- Couples are learning that a strong marriage is the foundation for a strong family.
- Families – adults and kids both – are learning the responsibilities of budgeting, finances, doing your best and seeking to better your future through education and job training.
- People – adults and kids alike – are learning for the first time they are NOT hopeless, that they can indeed dream, and those dreams are attainable!
- Families at the end of their ropes are hearing the hope that is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This then, is the legacy of Freedom House and our future, a vision of an end to homelessness in Brown County once and for all.