On Tuesday, May 19, an article in the AV Press shared the following:
As a result of a valley wide count and investigation coordinated by the Antelope Valley Homeless Coalition:
2,818 people are counted as homeless in the Antelope Valley.
79 are Veterans. 504 are victims of domestic violence.
385 are members of chronically homeless families, 325 suffer from substance abuse.
525 are categorized as severely mentally ill. (19%) and 100 are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
587 have a physical disability.
449 are in shelters/crisis housing. 2,369 are not in a shelter.
29 are unaccompanied minors (under 18). Less than 25% are addicted to drugs.
It also pointed out that there are “Situational” homeless and “Chronic” homeless.
The “Situational” homeless recently lost their job, had an income reduction, suffered a medical condition that put them out of work or their landlord lost their property or raised their rent.
Many of the families have to choose between rent or food.
Affordable housing for someone on emergency and general assistance funds is scarce.
The AV Homeless coalition is working to address these problems.
The article also continues beyond the numbers and talks about the long and patient process that needs to be in place to help individuals and families find their way back into a steady job and with secure housing.
Churches and other non-profit organizations provide an crucial link in that process.
For over 25 years we have been feeding the homeless with our Community Kitchen! Thank God!!
Currently we are offering a free, hot lunch Mondays and Thursdays serving between 200 and 400 people each day.
In addition, we are distributing “Blessing Bags” through our congregation to the many homeless we see on the streets. These bags are filled with toiletries, a small amount of food, a cross and inspiration to encourage and provide hope.
Around the holidays Ellen Eslick organizes an “Angel Tree” and “Santa’s Workshop” so that many who have little can have a helping hand for Christmas.
And there are many in our congregation who help out in their own way with specific individuals in their specific needs.
We thank God for each and everyone of you and for your time, prayers, generosity and love! What a great blessing you are.
Three years ago, we made “Poverty and Homelessness” one of our three areas of vision.
This report gives us a great deal of information and insight into the guests we see at our Community Kitchen. (I encourage you to read the full version found at www.avpress.com.)
I also invite you to pray about how we can reach out and offer additional help and hope to our guests.
As faithful followers of Jesus Christ, we work to better the lives of those around us both physically and spiritually.
How might we better pray for our homeless guests? How might we engage them and find those who are “situational” homeless and need a few friendly faces and perhaps a “hand up” to get back on their feet?
How might we offer them the power and inspiration that the Holy Spirit gives us and so find the strength to start anew?
Our loving Lord is doing wonderful things in our midst and bringing to our door individuals and families that have had a difficult time in life.
Is God placing on your heart a desire to make the world better for them?
Let us know of your interest and willingness to help.
Call us (661-942-0419) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s work together with God to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves.”
What scripture has stayed with you this week?
What have others learned about Jesus Christ because of you?
How goes it with your soul?
Grace and Peace,