April 9, 2013

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Today I heard a comment that really made me step back and think. It was stated by a young mother at Village of Hope “hope and fear can’t exist inside me at the same time- So I just need to have so much hope that it pushes out the fear” Among all the services that we provide  families, we can’t get far if we don’t start with hope.Hope is something that is hard to articulate but you know it when you have it! Hope generally starts very small. I am realizing that hope and trust often go hand in hand. It may start with a little bit of trust and if that trust is not broken it can lead to hope. Hope is very hard to achieve after a lifetime of sadness and mistrust. It is an honor to share the first glimmer of hope with a family and then see it grow more each day. Many times the other families  in the shelter give hope to each other by sharing what has worked for them and giving them encouragement to keep going. Hope is something that can be passed on from generation to generation and I’m grateful that I have the opportunity each day to see our families work hard to make it better for their children.

 

April 5, 2013

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  For families who live in homelessness, It takes an incredible amount of energy to maintain hope against all odds. Hope comes in many forms, it is an advocate looking parents in the eye and telling them that you believe in them and they can make a difference for themselves and their family. It is landlord taking a chance on a family that has made poor choices in the past but now  have the skills to make the right choice and will make the right choice. Hope looks like an employer offering a job to a Mother or Father  so that family can  become productive members of their community. Hope looks like a community member visiting with parents or kids at the shelter and really listening to their story and the things they need to break the cycle of homelessness.

Offer Hope to a homeless family today!

April 3, 2013

Myths about Homelessness

I confess, I believed that all homeless people were lazy and unmotivated and most of them were drunk and on drugs. Then I actually met homeless people and everything I thought I knew about homelessness went right out the window. Homeless families are the biggest growing homeless population. Most of the families we work with want to work and in fact are VERY MOTIVATED to make a better life for themselves and their children. The families that come to Village of Hope don’t want a hand out- they want a hand up. It’s impossible “to pull yourself up by the bootstraps” when you don’t even have boots. Hunger and homelessness are not created because families don’t have enough to eat or no shelter for the night- it involves a variety of unmet physical, emotional  and social needs.  It does indeed take a village to raise a child and that includes children who are the youngest victims of family homelessness.

April 2, 2013

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Do You have your Chairs for Chairity Gala Dinner and Auction tickets  yet? Or, would you like to donate a chair for our auction?  Contact Sandy at 218-751-0722 Ext. 2 to purchase a ticket or donate a chair. This event will be held June 15th at 6pm at the Bemidji Town and Country Club and all proceeds will benefit the children and their families who are experiencing homelessness.

Families homelessness is on the rise. You can help us break the cycle of family homelessness.

 

March 29, 2013

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How YOU can give hope for our families.

1. Volunteer: volunteering your time is the best way to learn about homelessness and meet some incredible people! Think about what you do best and how you can share that with our families- is it organizing, talking, parenting(just to name a few things)

2.Advocate: advocacy is so critical to creating the systems change that we need to end homelessness.Advocacy means learning and understanding and talking to people that make decisions regarding services and supports.

3.Contribute: In kind services such as copying, printing, transportation, computer equipment, building materials or cleaning Supplies. Provide job opportunities by encouraging your company, school or place of worship to hire people experiencing homelessness. Most unemployed homeless adults desparately want to work, but need someone to give them a chance. Support a homeless family move out of a shelter, provide support for a homeless familiy such as babysitting or moral support. Raise funds for our program and attend fundraising and educational events.

Most importantly please don’t look away from a homeless family, smiling or  making eye contact can reaffirm the humanity of a person when life and situations seem to have stripped it away.

Contact me at 218-751-0722 Ext 2 to talk about ways to give hope to families.

Sandy

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March 28, 2013

ImageI am often asked “why do families become homeless?” Family homelessness is caused by a combination of lack of affordable housing, the changing demographics of families, domestic violence, and or  fractured social supports.  Housing costs often outpace wages. Actually, a full time employee earning minimum wage cannot afford even a one bedroom at the Fair Market Rent anywhere in the United States! Nationally, a full time employee must earn 18.32 dollars an hour to afford a two bedroom. Many head of households do not have a high school diploma or GED, therefore their earning potential is very limited. The vast majority of homeless parents what to work but barriers such as transportation, education or life skills prevent them from successfully achieving gainful employement.  Many homeless adults were homless as children.

The second question people ask is “how can I help?” The most important way that you can help is by understanding and getting to know families who are experiencing homelessness. The second most important thing you can do is volunteer to mentor families and support them to achieve their goals and dreams. The last thing is to support a homeless shelter with your money. Emergency Shelters are on the front lines in breaking the cycle of homelessness.

March 27, 2013

Image Village of Hope serves children and their families who are experiecning homelessness. They myth that the average homeless person is an alcoholic older man just ins’t the case. More families than ever before are facing homelessness. Village of Hope assisted 35 families break the cycle of homelessness and find safe housing  last year.