Thursday, April 29, 2010

Miracles on Troost

One of my co-workers has long referred to our agency as the miracle on Troost. Troost is the street where our campus is located in the urban core of Kansas City. She says that the miracle is the way the lives of homeless families are transformed after being at Community LINC.

Another kind of miracle happened a week or so ago.

I spent a very stressful weekend worrying about cash flow. Our revenue has been good, but a great deal of it hasn’t been paid yet – it is pledges or receivables. When I came in on Monday, I had to borrow money to cover payroll.

On Wednesday, a man dropped into the office. The week before, he ran into a friend of his having lunch with our Associate Executive Director. Our visitor and his wife have been supporting an agency that assists homeless individuals, but they wanted to do something for homeless families. He followed the coincidence of meeting our Associate ED to learn more about what we do. She wasn’t in, so he visited with me.

He asked a lot of questions about what we do, but kept coming back to “What have you been praying for?” It was pretty easy to answer. I was praying for something to help our cash flow and cover the $30,000 deficit I was expecting in April.

He wrote a check for $30,000.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It Made Me Wonder. . .

One of our residents died last week.

She was only 27 years old - a beautiful, young mother of a nine month old daughter in a happy relationship with a man who loved her.

She had a heart condition since childhood.

It made me wonder. Did she get the medical care she needed? Did she go to the doctor? Many homeless people don’t have a doctor. They don’t get regular care. They go to the emergency room when they need medical attention.

We’re all stunned at the loss – no one so much as the father of her child. It all happened so quickly. She was here and then in a moment gone.

It made me wonder. Did the stress and trauma of being homeless shorten her life? Homelessness has a profound impact. Over 1/3 of homeless mothers have chronic medical conditions. They have three times the rate of post traumatic stress disorder and 50% suffer from depression.

It made me wonder. Would she have lived longer if she hadn’t become homeless?

- Laura Gray

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not Like Them

Senior Director of Programs and Operations Jeannine Short tells the story of Traci...

Traci and her daughter entered our transitional housing in September 2008. Prior to entering the program, she had a very lucrative career in real estate and was accustomed to providing a stable home for her daughter. When the economy began to turn for the worse and the housing market bottomed out, Traci found herself without an income and the ability to maintain the arguably lavish lifestyle she had become accustomed to. Consequently, with no income, no savings and a delay in unemployment benefits, she and her daughter found themselves without a home.

Upon entering the program, Traci admits she was challenged by the structure of the program. To suddenly be held accountable by someone else after a lifetime of self-sufficiency was more than a struggle for her. Too, viewing herself as “not like them” initially prohibited her from settling in and perpetuated a sense of entitlement. But, despite her best efforts, she struggled for several months to find employment. She was fending off harassing creditors, and as a last straw was turned down for housing due to outstanding debt. She gradually discovered that she was very much “like them”—needing the opportunity to put the pieces back together.

Fortunately, Traci was able to overcome her personal prejudices and begin actively participating in the program. As a result, she was able to find employment, settle over $3000.00 in tax and housing-related debt, obtain a license to sell insurance and move to permanent housing.

- Laura Gray