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Life Happens

Homeless program options

A Christian Place Magazine has taken a strong interest in helping the homeless. With as many as 700 people homeless in Ontario, California during a census count 2000, 2/3 of these being children, something needs to be done. A program to help find housing for homeless can be creative as well as practical. First if we can get each church to adopt one family to help every 3 months this would help spread the burden. How will the church adopt a family? This can be done in a variety of ways based on the churches ability. If there is space on the property, the church can put up an RV or Modular home. The cost of this will be subsidized through grants. We can also look toward companies such as Target, Walgreens, Lowes, Home Depot, and other companies that have resources to help in supplies and labor. We can look to unions to provide workers to volunteer help. We can look to the churches own congregation for people skilled to do the electrical and plumbing. We can look to Habitat for Humanity to also help. The RV would also be multi purpose for the church. If the church houses a family for 3 months then for one month they can use the RV for outreach ministry. They can use it for release time in public schools. They can set up an outreach on a monthly basis and connect with a medical RV for a health clinic, and the citys activity RV for childrens arts and crafts. This could be set up once a month or several times during the month and the different churches could do the outreach at the specified locations such as a park. The harvest will be plenty and the workers can be there. If the option to put up an RV or Modular unit is not possible we can look for the church to rent an apartment for the program. We will look to get grant money to pay for the rent or donations from the congregation or apartment complex. In all cases the family would not be moving in to any of these premises. They simply will be staying their during the 3 mos case management. The case management would consist of seeing where the needs are. Each case is different yet some things are similar. The adults in a family may be working but the job may not pay enough. If this is the case then we need to increase the skill in order to increase the income. If child care is an issue we can look for free child care programs. If this is not possible then we can train mothers to start their own childcare. This will provide an income as well as allow her to stay with her children. There are plenty of working mothers out there in need of child care. Some cases may be an illness or pregnancy where longer transitional help may be needed if this is the case we can work with other programs to provide transitional housing for up to a year. In some of the cases where we will need case managers we can also train our own homeless adult who shows the ability to actually become a case manager. This will provide a job and a compassionate worker. The program will state and provisions must be made to show that the homeless person or family is not in a landlord tenant situation. They cannot receive mail at such address they must have mail sent to the HOPE program or PO box. They will be considered visitors or clients. There will be drug and alcohol testing. Those who smoke cigarettes will be given kits such as patches to help quit smoking. No smoking will be allowed on any premises of the apartment, modular home or RV. This is required since children will be staying in these places and smoking would be considered bad for the childrens health. In the RV or Modular Home is would also be located on a church property in which case it would be considered disrespectful to smoke on the property. In or out of the RV or modular unit We are also looking into hotels who can adopt one homeless family or the church could put a family in a hotel if the apartment is considered to risky. Only problem with the hotel depending on the hotel would be the elements the children would be exposed to living in hotels. Another problem is it would have to have cooking and refrigeration for families to prepare meals. If it is too much for one church to do some of the work several smaller churches could ban together to do the work. There is much more to the program but this is a simple brief of our hopes to accomplish. We hope to collaborate with the churches, HOPE program, and other programs in the area to network together and utilize each others services. How can you help? Call us or contact your own church and see if there is they would participate in our project. It's going to take all of us to make this work.