Housing Resources, Inc. Family Shelter is a 24 bed emergency shelter created to meet the needs of homeless families with children in Kalamazoo County. It remains open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. All money raised at this fundraiser goes to support the shelter and those who need the services they compassionately provide.
Lives are being changed as you are reading this; the lives of children, the lives of parents. Perhaps your own life has changed or that of someone you know. For the 21st consecutive year, our community is uniting to reach the goal of "Zero Homelessness" by the year, 2017. The Walk-for-the-Homeless startes at the Eleanor Street Family Shelter, in Kalamazoo. Many of you have helped Housing Resources Inc. (HRI) implement their programming year-round.. If so, you know that in 2007 HRI provided 7,413 nights of shelter to 331 families, an average of 22.4 days per family. These statistics are important for several reasons.
First of all, they represent Wisdom. 22.4 days is a short period of time. How can 22.4 days make a difference to a family in crisis? And, how does this period of temporary shelter help to solve the larger issue of homelessness? Essentially, the process of becoming homeless is a long and painful one. Socially and financially, the costs, and there are many, start long before the roof over a child's head is taken away. housing Resources Incorporated has a multi-step process, which addresses the early stages of homelessness with cost-effective assistance. This is a wise and accessible plan.
Secondly, these statistics represent Trust. 331 families trusted HRI to provide them with housing and many more have recieved preventive assistance through HRI. In fact, a large part of the goal of HRI is preventing homelessness on both a short-term and emergency basis. Employees and volunteers at HRI collaborate with existing government service providers, as well as private organizations and church-sponsored organizations in order to provide assistance to families so that they can remain in their current homes.
Ability, is the third symbol of the success of HRI. These above-mentioned community partners trust the ability of HRI to effectively assist families in a housing crisis. 22.4 days is a short period of time, representing a quick "turn-around" for those served by HRI. Families who are housed by HRI are required to participate in a re-housing process both before and during their stay. This process involves attaining skills which are cricial to independent living, including financial planning, access to program assistance and household budgeting. In this way, the ultimate goal of permanent housing can be achieved in a shorter period of time and with less risk of recurrence.
When I began walking with HRI 21 years ago, I knew little about how to deal with homelessness.
Today, I am thankful to have walked beside such wise, trustworthy and able people. Through their efforts, we have all found a practical way to address homelessness. Dare I hope that the 2017 goal is possible? With your help, this year's Walk-for-the-Homeless" event will become a celebration of success rather than of financial necessity. You can find more information at housingresourcesinc.org, or call: 269.382.0287.
Greater Kalamazoo Association of REALTORS Board of Director