On any given night, there are about 14,000 homeless people in the Twin Cities, a significant number of which are children. The reasons are varied, but include lack of affordable rental housing (94% of Minnesota counties do not have enough affordable housing units to meet the needs of those who seek them), unemployment and underemployment, untreated mental abuse and domestic abuse.
Yesterday I attended the annual fundraising lunch for Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative’s Families Moving Forward program. Through the program, volunteers from over 60 religious congregations throughout the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs create shelter space at their congregations for a week at a time. In addition to a safe place to sleep, food to eat and safe places for children to play, FMF’s professional staff work with people to help provide them jobs and more permanent places to stay.
The program has been remarkably successful in providing help for those in need. We heard from several of the families helped at the lunch.
At the end of the lunch, I made three-year donation commitment to FYF, having recently written a check for the last installment of my prior multi-year pledge to them.) Take a look at their website to see the work they do. And if you are able, think about a contribution. It doesn’t have to be large; every bit helps.
And you can do more than donate money. If your church does sponsor a FMF program, you can donate your time when families come to your church. (We also heard moving accounts from those who participate in their churchs’ efforts. And, if it doesn’t sponsor one, maybe you could talk to those running your church to see if they can join in the effort.
Our brothers and sisters are sleeping on the streets. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can make a difference.