As you may know, our partner for the shelter during the year is Bethesda Project. We provide a warm, safe place for our guests to sleep, an evening meal and a direct connection to the community that volunteers in the shelter program. Bethesda Project provides an overnight supervisor, a daytime place for our guests to eat lunch, and case management to assist our guests. They work with each man to provide him with appropriate educational support, job training programs, employment partnership referrals and housing resources.
We met with staff members of Bethesda Project this past week to discuss this shelter season, our concerns and the highlights of our contributions. Below is part of the report that Bethesda Project shared with us.
Since all of the men were housed at Old First during the month of May, “the staff from Bethesda Project could dedicate more time to working with guests residing at Old First Reformed. This contributed to several positive housing accomplishments. For example, three chronically homeless guests identified from the park surveys were successfully placed into transitional housing. Another three guests began renting apartments by obtaining stable employment. In addition, two longterm guests (each with 10+ months in the Church Shelter Program) were successfully placed into permanent supportive housing units. One guest, a veteran who had shelter time at both St. Mary’s and Old First Reformed, was successfully linked to the Veterans Multi-Service Center for the first time with the help of CSP staff. From there, he received a HUD-VASH voucher, successfully identified an apartment and has begun working with his VA Social Work Team to occupy the unit.”
Thank you to everyone who helped us this shelter season. Of the 72 men who stayed with us at some point in this year, 57 had positive move outs, even if that meant going to another shelter. They were no longer sleeping in doorways, on street corners or on the porch of the CE Building. 23 are in some kind of permanent housing, and 3 more are in long-term treatment for addiction to drugs or alcohol. Your dinners, your visits, your contributions at Christmas, the Valentine cards, the clothing, and the prayers you sent on behalf of our shelter guests made a difference in the lives of the men who resided with us. We hope you’ll join us again in November to greet another group of shelter guests and share with them God’s love and compassion.