Category Archives: Homelessness

5 Easy Ways You Can Help Homeless Families This Holiday Season

So Many Ways You Can Help Homeless Families This Season 

Just in time for the holidays, we made our list – and checked it twice! – of 5 easy ways you can help homeless families on the South Shore this season. Some are super easy to do. Others give you a chance to enjoy the spirit of the holiday season while your contribution goes to helping us put an end homelessness on the South Shore.

Either way, you’re sure to find an activity that will make this year’s celebration more meaningful and joyous than ever! Some fun ways to help homeless families are: Continue reading 5 Easy Ways You Can Help Homeless Families This Holiday Season

Meet Tandah Etienne: Tireless Advocate for Homeless Families

Our new Program Director returns “home” to work on behalf of  homeless families

When Tandah Etienne arrived at Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore this summer as the new Program Director, it was a return to her roots. In fact, Tandah’s work as an advocate for homeless families began when she was a student at Eastern Nazarene College. Back then, she volunteered at Friends of the Homeless under the direction of then Executive Director Dorothy Newell.

Since then, Tandah has worked as an advocate for homeless families and individuals in a variety of settings including: Continue reading Meet Tandah Etienne: Tireless Advocate for Homeless Families

Thanking Our Supporters: Good News to Share

Thanking our supporters for a long list of 2017 accomplishments.

We are sincerely thanking our supporters. Here are some highlights of how we were able to help homeless families on the South Shore. They found permanent housing and stability in their lives, thanks to  supporters like you.

Continue reading Thanking Our Supporters: Good News to Share

Former Homeless Shelter Guest Reinforces Importance of Our Work

A wonderful story about a former homeless shelter guest  — with a powerful message — from Executive Director Herb Newell …

There are times when all of us who work in family sheltering have felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need. We see the seeming intransigence of current problems, and know all too well the mentally tough work. At those times it’s important to remember that we have been – and continue to be – a significant part of the response to homeless shelter guests needing help and guidance.

I was reminded of the enormous impact our work can have during a recent visit to our Furniture Bank. Continue reading Former Homeless Shelter Guest Reinforces Importance of Our Work

Festival of Trees: Joy, Support for Shelters

Join the fun at The Hingham Mothers’ Club (HMC) Festival of Trees, Dec. 2 and 3 at the Hingham Community Center. The annual event brings joy to the season and much-needed support for our homeless shelters.

This year the Festival features 40 beautiful trees on display as part of Hingham’s Christmas in the Square celebration. Continue reading Festival of Trees: Joy, Support for Shelters

First Home with Friends Family Strides Toward Independence

Home with Friends has a success story to share with you. For our dedicated volunteers, generous donors, ever-energetic supporters, old and new friends, here is the update you have been asking for on our new Home with Friends program from Program Director Lora Wooster. See below for her list of things you can do to help support the families.

They Always seem happy to see me!

St. Paul's, Home With FriendsThe first family in our Home with Friends program – Deanne and her pre-school son – lived at our Norwell shelter for almost 3 years. She began meeting with the mentoring team from St. Paul’s Church of the Nazarene in Duxbury last year. And despite some self-doubt at the start, she has since made great strides toward self-sufficiency.

Perhaps that is why, when asked about her experience with her mentors, she beams. One of the things she likes best about meeting with them, she says, is that “they always seem so happy to see me!”

Confidence to Meet Her Goals

When she joined the program, Deanne (not her real name) who is in her late twenties, had already faced a number of life challenges and disappointments that damaged her self-confidence and resilience. She grew up with her grandmother while her parents was incarcerated. She never finished high school, and she held a series of unskilled, low-paying jobs. But with encouragement from her mentoring team — and the Secure Jobs program at Father Bill’s and Mainspring – she:

  • completed her GED last October
  • moved into her first apartment in March
  • started training to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in June and
  • found a part-time job at a local hospital in July

Next: A new Career & No Subsidy

She got high marks in her CNA classes and graduated as a Certified Nursing Assistant on September 3rd. That means she is more than ready for the next challenge: to find a full time job that keeps her on her career path in nursing so she can afford an apartment on her own. Up to now she has had a rental subsidy from the state. Now that the subsidy has ended, her mentoring team’s church, St. Paul’s Church of the Nazarene in Duxbury, will provide a decreasing rental subsidy for another year.

Car Troubles and a Short-Term Fix

Along the way, Deanne has been learning that it takes time and effort to build the life skills and confidence that will help her succeed. She is also learning that there will be occasional setbacks that she will need to overcome. For example, when her car died recently, she was able to resurrect it for the time being with the help of her mentoring team and a local mechanic. Unfortunately, the car probably will not last until winter, and she needs it to keep her job. (See our “What we need now” wish list below.)

Her Chance to “Grow and Bloom”

Daylilies, day lilies, Home With FriendsLike the daylilies that survived the heat and drought of my garden this summer, Deanna has overcome many challenges to grow and bloom. And even though she still worries about her finances – she tells me that she could not have made it this far without her social worker and her mentoring team.

Two More Families Matched with Mentors

Highrock NorthSt combinedWe now have two more families on board and teamed up with wonderful mentoring teams from North Street Community Church of the Nazarene and Highrock Covenant Church of Quincy. Both moms are working and one moved into an apartment with her son in August; the other is still looking for an affordable apartment. I will bring you more details in a future update.

What We Need Now for Home With Friends

  • Deanne needs a halfway-decent used car. If you have one you would like to donate, you could receive a tax deduction for its value, and Deanne would know that she will be able to get to work this winter. Contact me.

 

  • We continue to need funding for staff to provide case management for families and to train and equip volunteers to minister to families in motels. If you would like to organize a fundraiser, please let us know, or to donate right now, use the donate button on the Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore website. (Please do not use our old PO Box)

 

  • Please help us increase the awareness of family homelessness in Boston and on the South Shore. You can do this by:
    • Inviting me to speak with the groups you’re involved with at your church or in your community.

 

  • Subscribing to the FHSS blog to hear more stories!

 

Thank you for your acts of compassion and your sharing, giving attitudes in the past – and the future! God’s love has shown through you.

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Lora Wooster is the Program Director for our Home with Friends program, she can be reached at homewithfriends@gmail.com 617-939-3709

 

Trunk or Treat

Living Hope Four Square Church in Hanover invited our guests from Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore to Trunk or Treat last Sunday.  This event brought a lot of joy to parents and children like.

What is Trunk or Treat?

Well, it’s like a Halloween tailgate party for our shelter guests and their children. They wander trunk to trunk gathering their bounty of delectable treats. The children also had a chance to show off their costumes too! Along with playing lots of fun games where they could win prizes. All we can say was it was a real treat for all!

Here are some pictures from the Trunk or Treat event. Tell us below or on our Facebook page what events you plan to put on during the holidays.

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More Wise Than I – Friends of the Homeless

2014_09_12 Fixers ImageMore wise than I – The occasional musings of someone who aspires to be “a friend of the homeless,” for others who want to do the same: “Everyone wants to fix everything.” Our culture has developed a whole social strata of people fixers — psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, therapists, counselors, social workers, just to name a few.

Don’t get me wrong, I value those very highly those who make it their goal to help others. I work with them everyday. I am one with them and one of them. But I also value friendship, something we are all called to, and I worry that we have become so enamored with the “professional” approach to helping others that we have undermined the value of friendship. We’re scared to be helpers and friends merely because we lack a credential.

As Oz said to the Tin Man: “You don’t need a brain, you need a diploma!”

One of the gold standards of the people-fixing field is the MSW: Master of Social Work — as if there were such a thing. Does anyone ever master Social Work? On the one hand, this is a good reason for a little humility, a reason to keep studying and learning. And on the other, if no one masters social work, and everyone is still learning to swim, then all the rest of us of us can be more free to dip our toes in that water, not with a sense of entitlement, but at least with a little less fear that we just don’t know enough to make a difference in someones life.

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

— Henri J. M. Nouwen

Perhaps Henri Nouwen has it right. The best approach to helping is befriending, listening to, hearing, touching, feeling with others, and caring.

As often as not we do not have a cure. We do not even know the cure. Perhaps there is no cure; however, the best treatment, friendship, does not rely on a remedy, but simply on being present in the moment. This simple thing, friendship, matters.

What are some ways you have personally reached out to the homeless through the years. We would love to hear about it below, or feel free to share about it on our Facebook or Google+ pages.