Homeless in the Heartland?

What? Homeless in our area? etown_sign-06

We can all admit that we live in a wonderful part of the country. Not a small town anymore, but we really don’t have the traffic and problems of a bigger city. It’s a beautiful setting with good schools, churches, and community spirit.

And, because of Ft. Knox, factories, businesses, and being a regional medical provider, we have good employment overall.

So, sometimes it is hard for us to consider that there are homeless in our community.

HOMELESS-FAMILY

Where Are the Homeless?

If you have eyes to see, you will be able to find them. Maybe on your drive to and from work, church or the kids’ school? They live . . .

  • under the I-65 overpasses,
  • behind Warm Blessings soup kitchen in the woods that surround Buffalo Lake (a track of land behind 31W South and extends to the area behind the hotels and restaurants at Exit 94),
  • behind the public library, and
  • downtown under the bridge and along the stream by the Justice Center.

Who are the homeless?

The homeless are typically men. It’s true–many of them became homeless because of addictions. But not all. Some made poor financial decisions then lost their job, then lost their home.

Some of them live out of their car–like a lady who recently contacted us that she is living in her car with her 2 kids.

Another instance is a man and wife who walked to town for medical care for her pregnancy and returned to find that their tent and belongings stolen!

Some homeless are not in the streets. They crash on a friend’s couch, stay with a family member as long as they can, then move on to another situation.  Life is transient. Hard. Exhausting.

Thankfully, RITI is coming to town!Room in the Inn

Room In The Inn (RITI) already runs in Nashville, Bowling Green, Lexington and other cities.  RITI does not solve homelessness. But, it does some major things.

  • RITI helps the homeless.  During the coldest months of the year, December -January -February, it provides a warm and safe place to spend the night.
  • RITI binds together local agencies and churches. Warm Blessings, Red Cross, Helping Hand of HOPE and St. Vincent De Paul are partnering with about 12 churches in our area.
  • RITI increases our awareness. Riding in a van, sharing a few meals, and having conversations together allow us to see that “the homeless” are real people with real names and real needs. They are our neighbors and, when they come to our church, they become our guests.
  • RITI assesses needs. We may not solve their homelessness. But, the leadership of our RITI Elizabethtown works to identify the homeless, assess their individual or family needs, and seeks to connect these needs with the resources already available in our area.

RITI provides shelter, safety, showers, rest/sleep, peace of mind, dignity, three meals, the love of Christ.

v1_300dpiWant to learn more? Want to sign-up to help? Follow this link for details and be sure to scroll all the way down to launch the sign-up form:

http://graceheartland.org/#/grace-unleashed/room-in-the-inn

Daryl Pepper is Associate Pastor, director of Grace Unleashed, and serves on the steering committee for Room In The Inn.

 

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