A New Friendship Team Story
Usually I start my updates off with a story about one of our Family Partners, so I thought this time I would give you a glimpse of one of our Friendship Teams. As it was said in the May article entitled Hotel, Motels for Massachusetts Homeless Decreases Greatly , we have a new team from Wollaston Church of the Nazarene in Quincy. Since this is my ‘home’ church, I often talk about the Home with Friends ministry, In fact, for the last four year — in church board meetings, small group gatherings, on the missions council, etc. And, people frequently respond with interest and prayer.
Small Groups Make a Big Difference in Homeless Family’s Lives
This year some members of my small group decided it was time to get more involved,. So a team was put together of 10 adults (with numerous kids! We advocate children be part of homeless ministry together). During March through May we met 4 times for training, and Sara Mitchell and I began asking agencies, shelters and churches for family referrals.
What Are Family Referrals?
Family referrals are homeless families who struggle and have a connection to an agency, shelter or church. We look for those families who are struggling with homelessness. But moreso, we look for those who seem to be ready to take advantage of a 2-year period of financial and relational support. This is what the Home With Friends program is all about. This gives them the time and energy to get further education or training and increase their income. It also allows time to clean up their credit reports and stabilize other areas of their lives.
How do we determine who is home-ready?
Referrals came to us for 8 different families. Of those 8 families, 5 of them had an interview with us regarding the Home With Friends opportunity. We are happy to announce a selection is made!
A New Family Will Have a Place to Call Home Soon!
Our new family is a couple with a toddler and a baby on the way. How exciting that they will have a place to call home! Can you imagine how special the holiday’s will be for them this year?
What criteria must a family meet to qualify for the Home With Friends program?
Just to give you an idea what we look for, Dad works full time and mom part time. Mom has come out of the foster care system and spent a couple of years at Ruth’s House in Brockton, which provides people like her with wonderful support and training. This weekend, the family must be out of their apartment.
How do Friendship Teams help?
Members of the Friendship team took the initiative and got right to work! They have contacted a real estate agent from the congregation who is connecting them with other agents. They also have gone with Mom to look at apartments. And, this past Saturday night the Friendship Team hung out with the family, taking time to get to know each other. The team also put together a fundraiser. The funds will go toward the Family Partner’s decreasing rental subsidy.
A team member took Mom out to look at apartments, and said –
It was awesome to meet this mom and talk with her in the car. It was the absolute perfect place to have a discussion. She talked all about her life, her background and what brought her to the place of homelessness. I am more convinced than ever that this experience is going to be life-changing for the Friendship Team, and that we can have a serious impact on their lives.
It’s a Two Way Street
Both Family Partners and Friendship Team members often learn from each other. And, it certainly isn’t easy! Often those involved must expect lifestyle difference, such as value-system clashes, and frustration at times. So why would a person want to be on the Friendship Team? Why do it? Because this is the Church being the Church! Loving on people and bringing hope to their circumstances.
Would you like to be part of a Friendship Team?
To learn more about Home with Friends watch our video below: