Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness
An illness, a merger, a fire: there many reasons why any one of us could suddenly find ourselves out of a home. To help break the cycle of homelessness, we work with a number of nonprofit community agenies that help put families back on their feet with counseling, job-hunting assistance, safe shelter, and transitional housing. Organizations such as Family Promise, Sarah’s Circle, Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans (RHINO), Interfaith House, and Interfaith Housing Center North Shore help connect the homeless with resources and support. Our volunteers also back up our financial offerings by lending a hand with house-building and renovation projects organized by Habitat for Humanity and RHINO.
Volunteers from the First Presbyterian Church actively work to help New Orleans residents restore their lives — both physically and spiritually — along with our partners from across the nation. Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans (RHINO) is an outreach ministry of St Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, founded 3 weeks after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. For information on joining this effort, contact the church office at 847-256-3010 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette is partnered with seven other North Shore churches and synagogues as a host congregation in the Family Promise Network. Family Promise is a local organization serving newly homeless families, offering a permanent day center with counseling aid for job hunting and housing. There are 148 such organizations nationwide.
Homeless families from Evanston, Rogers Park, Skokie, and other nearby communities are carefully screened for successful participation. During a typical day, the children are transported to their previous schools by the school districts while their families spend the day at the permanent Day Center in Evanston, which provides counseling and assistance for job hunting and housing. In the evening around 5:30 p.m., the Family Promise van transports families to the host congregation. The host congregation provides dinner, overnight housing, and a continental breakfast. In the morning, the van picks up the family at 6:00 a.m. for transport to the day center.
Each participating church or synagogue provides one week of overnight housing for up to three families with at least one dependent child each. Hosting involves providing a common area, three small separate sleeping areas, dinners, companionship, one or two overnight volunteers, and moderate setup and take-down work. Beds, partitions, linens, towels, transportation, and laundry are provided by Family Promise, and showers are available at the Day Center.
In 2008, 85% of the participants found long-term housing and their average time in the program was 60 days. For information about volunteering, contact the church office at 847-256-3010 or via e-mail to email@example.com.
Interfaith House has been a mission partner of the First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette for more than 10 years, offering a healing environment and resources to help ill and injured homeless adults. The 64-bed recuperative care center welcomes people discharged from hospitals who do not have a plan for housing and support to complete their medical recovery.
Interfaith House provides individual case management, spiritual support, behavioral health assistance, and counseling sessions, as well as meals and lodging for up to a year. The goal is to help those who are recovering restore their health, rebuild their lives, and regain self sufficiency. Volunteers collect and deliver needed supplies after sharing an evening of devotions and games with residents. For information, contact the church office at 847-256-3010 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah’s Circle is a non-profit agency with a mission of serving women who are homeless or in need of a safe space. Located in Chicago’s Uptown community, Sarah’s Circle has helped thousands of women over the course of its 30-year history. Sarah’s Circle has an ongoing wish list of travel-size health, hygiene, and comfort items such as shampoo, conditioner, vitamins, Chapstick, bar soap, Q-tips, baby powder, sewing kits, foot care, razors, body wash, and feminine hygiene products. A drop off box for donations is located at next to the elevator on the parking lot level of the church. Feel free to bring these much-needed items to church with you on Sunday, with the knowledge that your donation will be greatly appreciated.