What do you think of the mayors’ Faith-based Partnership to End Homelessness? Will your congregation participate? Will you encourage your congregation to do so? Is this a good approach? The best approach?
Our congregation has invited Katie Kitchen, Director for the Mayors’ efforts to address homelessness in our city, to speak to us during Lent about helping local government address homelessness. Four years ago a family showed up on our doorstep – a mother with five children and a dog – who were living in their car. Our congregation invested a great deal of money, and as pastor, I invested a great deal of time working with this family. The problem was there were no resources to guide us. We finally helped them to be placed into Estival Place through MIFA. We spent well over $2000 to assist them, but we watched that family fall right back into the old patterns that they had known before we tried to help. The children went into foster care and we are not sure what happened to the mom. At the time there were simply not enough guidelines for us, as a congregation, to really work in a healthy manner with this family. This is not the first family we have tried to help, so we are still trying to learn from our experiences in the past. We have been frustrated watching our efforts not seem to help people really turn the corner. We are hoping that Katie can help us discern if our calling is to jump back in to the huge challenge of homelessness in our city. We invite anyone in the city who would like to learn more about this program to meet Katie and hear her presentation on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at Balmoral Presbyterian Church, 6413 Quince Road, Memphis 38119.