2017 – 2018 Season Change:
The shelter will be open to
We are opening the shelter on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1st, at 6pm this year, and we will be at our same location; Bethany Lutheran Church, 1101 S. Madison. Please use the north entrance, on Third St.
Thank-you for your patience as our board sifted through new thoughts, ideas, protocols and most importantly God’s direction for the ministry. As many of you know we implemented a trial “mentorship program” last spring that was geared to help those that wanted to make changes in their lives, “The 180 Program”. We had 5 men that said, “with God’s help, I want more.” After 3 months of working closely with these 5 it was decided to close the program. Some were not committed at the level we had expected and some felt our program was a bit too stringent and walked away. Moving forward, the board truly believes there wasn’t enough structure and we have ideas of what we could do differently and/or better when we attempt this again in the future. In the meantime, we continue to pray and discuss what our next steps will be.
The biggest change for this shelter season is to move to an ALL MEN’S SHELTER. We will no longer be hosting Females at the shelter. There are several reasons we have come to this decision. One of which is the safety of our guests and volunteers. With the increase in number of guests, the sleeping quarters became congested, and many nights there was overflow in the dining room. Each year our numbers increase and we are just not able to maintain an atmosphere that is conducive to helping our guests move forward. Last year the board also observed many female guests only came to our shelter because a boyfriend was also a guest. We also noted that most of our female guests also had alternative arrangements available to them. Fortunately, our community has resources for females such as COVE and Jericho House. COVE is available for domestic situations and we have Jericho House for those that are interested in turning their lives around. Many women in the past were choosing our shelter because we did not have expectations for them and it was easier for them to come to our shelter and have no accountability. Jericho House is a viable option for those that are truly homeless and want to commit to changing their life and becoming self-sufficient.
With all this said, our focus this year will be “moving forward”. This is something we will be encouraging our guests to do. Our heart’s desire is to help those out of homelessness. With the wonderful addition of our new Lakeshore Resource Center we are excited to have new opportunities available. We may consider limitations such as lengths of stay, requirements of working, actively seeking employment, or volunteering. I might add, at this time we have more questions than answers and will keep you abreast of any updates. The one thing we keep coming back to is the need for mentors. They have the ability to build a relationship with a friend and walk through life with them while encouraging and empowering them to Move Forward. If you have the ability to pour into someone’s life, please let me know and we’ll plug you in!!