Session 2, Space 5: Homelessness
Attendees: Celeste Howard, Carol Graves, Krista Tenney, Pam Iverson, Marian Carlson-Ranum, Eileen Duffy and Julie Taylor
Session began with an overview of Family Promise of Seattle, part of an Interfaith Network in West Seattle. Families stay for a week at a church. Church provides meals and a place to sleep. During the day, families go to a Day Shelter. Congregations fund the program through grants (lots of competition) and fundraisers. Program supports a Director and a Case Manager (Professionals). Program had started before ready and had to take a hiatus. Is now up and running. Since June, program has housed 4 families. More than a shelter, people leave the program because they have found housing. Day Center is staffed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Screen families. No active addictions or mental health issues. No drugs or alcohol.
Discussed what other churches are doing:
Shoreline: King County has an Ending Homelessness Task Force – Looking for ways churches can help, Cocoon House for teens, Compass House for Veterans (church provides ‘Moving Out Packet’ and Costco also donates.) Separate shelters for men and women.
Edmonds: Supports the Cold Weather Shelter, provides support when the temperature is under 34 degrees F. Participates with the Interfaith Association of Northwest Washington.
Discussed related issues:
What keeps churches from letting people stay there such as sprinklers.
Need to keep families together.
Teenagers in schools.
United Way needs volunteers for One Night Count
Remind Homeless they have a right to vote.
Homeless can’t get assistance if they don’t have an address.
Need lots of volunteers – keep volunteers by asking them to do manageable jobs with infrequent commitment. Need volunteer coordinators who can give clear directions and one person is always on call. Actively recruit volunteers.
Benefits to volunteers: Opportunity to make contact with homeless people and break stereotypes. Learning opportunity, unifies congregation. Empowers volunteers. They feel informed.