A Child’s Perspective on Homelessness by Edith Yoder

Today’s post in the series  Return to Our Senses in Lent is excerpted from a newsletter I recently received from my friend Edith Yoder Executive Director of Bridge of Hope, a ministry which provides a church based approach to ending homelessness. I was so touched by the video in this post that I wanted to share it with all of you.

“It shouldn’t be this hard and I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong.”  These are the words of Kim Ahern, a single mom facing homelessness who’s featured in this powerful video from the Seattle Times entitled “A child’s perspective on homelessness.”

In 2010, Kim moved from Chicago to Seattle because she heard of job opportunities there.  When housing fell through, Kim, her 9-year-old son Jack, and their Cockapoo Gracie lived in the King County tent city.  Kim explains, “I wish I had Jack’s imagination – without the zombies.”

Kim used the 211 directory to look for housing options and felt that she kept “hitting a wall” until St. Vincent de Paul referred her to Blessed Sacrament.  She and Jack were provided with a room and a shared kitchen and bathroom.

Kim spent two months applying for jobs, but wondered what she would do about childcare.  “Everyone wants $10-$12/hour and I can’t pay out all I’m making.”  She explains that she and Jack dream at night about a new home and furniture.   “It’s fun to dream but everything’s on hold.  It’s a waiting game.”

My dream for Kim and Jack and families facing homelessness is Bridge of Hope mentoring friends from a local church.

A mentoring group could look at Jack’s “furniture map” and help to make it a reality.  Mentoring friends could provide childcare while Kim interviews for jobs.  Bridge of Hope staff would provide temporary rental assistance and help Kim to find a job (and job training if needed) so that she can meet expenses for housing, food, childcare, etc.

Please contact me if your church or agency would like to make this dream a reality for a family like Kim, Jack and Gracie. “It shouldn’t be this hard and I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong.”  These are the words of Kim Ahern, a single mom facing homelessness who’s featured in this powerful video from the Seattle Times entitled “A child’s perspective on homelessness.”

In 2010, Kim moved from Chicago to Seattle because she heard of job opportunities there.  When housing fell through, Kim, her 9-year-old son Jack, and their Cockapoo Gracie lived in the King County tent city.  Kim explains, “I wish I had Jack’s imagination – without the zombies.”

Kim used the 211 directory to look for housing options and felt that she kept “hitting a wall” until St. Vincent de Paul referred her to Blessed Sacrament.  She and Jack were provided with a room and a shared kitchen and bathroom.

Kim spent two months applying for jobs, but wondered what she would do about childcare.  “Everyone wants $10-$12/hour and I can’t pay out all I’m making.”  She explains that she and Jack dream at night about a new home and furniture.   “It’s fun to dream but everything’s on hold.  It’s a waiting game.”

My dream for Kim and Jack and families facing homelessness is Bridge of Hope mentoring friends from a local church.

A mentoring group could look at Jack’s “furniture map” and help to make it a reality.  Mentoring friends could provide childcare while Kim interviews for jobs.  Bridge of Hope staff would provide temporary rental assistance and help Kim to find a job (and job training if needed) so that she can meet expenses for housing, food, childcare, etc.

Please contact me if your church or agency would like to make this dream a reality for a family like Kim, Jack and Gracie.

 
Advertisements

Do Justice

Jamie Arpin Ricci at YWAM Urban Ministries in Canada is running a justice oriented Discipleship Training School in October.  For more details click here

Tall Skinny Kiwi & Monastic Orders

Andrew Jones aka Tall Skinny Kiwi, has just spent stayed overnight with us. It was wonderful to catch up on what he is doing from his base up in the Orkney Islands. As he reported on his blog we fed him almost entirely out of the garden – leek, mushroom and potato soup, garden salad (last of the year’s tomatoes) and apple berry cobbler for dessert.

Eugene & John enjoying cobbler

Tom dishing out his famous mushroom soup

Cheese on fresh baked bread

Like us Andrew is struggling to live out something of God’s kingdom values in his life and community. He is here for a conference this week with Alan Roxborough and Allelon discussing rules of life. What was interesting is that we too are struggling with what a rule of life could look like for us in Mustard Seed Associates. This morning we reviewed the rules we are most familiar with – St Benedict, 3rd Order Franciscan, Nothumbrian, Iona Community, The Simple Way and others. Andrew shared his experience with The Order of the Mustard Seed which comes out of the 24-7 prayer network, and the Church Mission Society, a 200 year old mission society that is in the process of reinventing itself more as a monastic order.

There are certainly a plethora of possibilities to look at out there so why invent something else? At this point we are not sure if we will. We are revisiting our Mustard Seed Affirmations which we developed some years ago to provide a framework for our lives. This could be the basis for our rule but we are grappling with how to interpret this for people from different church traditions, different ages and different cultures, some of whom live in community and some of whom don’t. So your prayers and comments are appreciated. What we are really grappling with is how to authentically live out our faith in today’s world. Prayers appreciated and I am sure there will be much more to share in the coming weeks.