HNCP DECEMBER 2016/JANUARY 2017 UPDATE:
WARMTH, FARES, AND MORE TO HELP THE HOMELESS
By Sue Gilbert
HNCP Program Coordinator
Holiday greetings to all from the Heartside Neighborhood Collaboration Project!
Baby, it’s cold outside… and we worship in a neighborhood where many people spend their days in the street or anywhere they can find shelter from the elements. Can you even begin to imagine what it would like to be homeless at this time of year? We have been working hard and making progress on the following initiatives related to homelessness and other issues:
WARMING CENTER, SHELTER UPDATE:
During the past few months here at HNCP we have updated the annual Heartside Warming Center and Overnight Shelter matrices for distribution throughout the community. I am very happy to report that more agencies have come forward this year to offer safe places for individuals to stay during the day in the cold winter months. Some individuals cannot be convinced to come inside, but that doesn’t stop the efforts.
HELPING THE HOMELESSNESS TALLY:
On January 25, 2017, the Coalition to End Homelessness will again head up the annual Point in Time (PIT) count to help determine how many homeless individuals reside in shelters, on the street, and elsewhere in Kent County. PIT coordinators appreciated the wonderful bags we at Bethlehem put together for distribution to the people they encountered on 2016 count day, and asked if Bethlehem would take on the task again. I assured them that our congregation would again provide warm hats, gloves, scarves, socks, bottled water, energy bars, hot cocoa, etc. I’ve purchased hand and toe warmers and have begun collecting other items such as bus tickets, etc. to include in the bags. You can sign up to contribute items listed on the clipboard at church or contact me at email@example.com.
REDUCED FARES FOR THE RAPID:
I’m thrilled to report that agencies have begun receiving the reduced fare tickets from The Rapid that we worked so hard to get. This allows agencies to maximize the use of their funds and provide more bus tickets for individuals to attend medical appointments, job interviews, etc. This is still a pilot program with The Rapid, but we will pursue efforts to have it become standard operating procedure.
JANUARY IS FOR BENEVOLENCE,
VIRTUAL CASE TRAINING PROJECTS:
We will host and facilitate Virtual Case Management (VCM) user training for employees of several core Heartside agencies early in the month, and later in January we will host and facilitate the launch of the BAHC (Benevolence Alliance for Heartside Community) process. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with so many dedicated and talented individuals from agencies such as Heartside Ministry, Degage Ministries, Mel Trotter Ministries, Dwelling Place, Salvation Army, and Access of West Michigan, and from congregations such as La Grave Avenue Christian Reformed Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church. What amazing collaborative efforts!
Please stay warm and safe during this holiday season and give thanks for the many blessings we have. Share the holiday spirit and the gift of God’s love with those you encounter every day. This is one gift you can give at no cost and with great reward!
Merry Christmas and God’s love and peace to you!