For the last three years, dedicated community members have left the warmth of their beds and forgone precious sleep in order to provide a simple service to their homeless neighbors: breakfast and showers. A hot meal and a clean start to a day are often things that are taken for granted. However to a homeless individual, these simple things are often precious commodities that can be difficult to come by. In partnership with Calvary Baptist Church, twenty volunteers have faithfully given of their time in order to provide this service to those needing them. As relationships have grown, trust has developed. However over time, volunteers realized that meals and showers, while appreciated, are not enough. As they watched their neighbors suffer the struggles and challenges of life on the streets, end up in hospitals and jails, and sometimes even pass away, there has been a growing realization that more is needed.
Frank (name changed to protect identity) was one of Bellflower’s more vulnerable homeless. He suffered from poor health, and eventually succumbed to a heart attack and passed away on the steps of a church. His death could have been avoided. Bellflower has seen what can happen when the vulnerable are left unhoused and unprotected, and the results can be devastating. Volunteers and concerned citizens desire to fix the problems they see; there has simply been a lack of understanding as to how this feat could be accomplished.
Enter the 100,000 Homes Campaign. PATH invited Kingdom Causes Bellflower and its sister organization, Our Place Housing Solutions, to attend a weekend boot camp put on by 100,000 Homes. Attendees walked out with their eyes wide at the possibilities. Could it really be possible to house our homeless neighbors? But the statistics don’t lie. Communities all over the country are doing it. One by one, service providers and pushing down barriers and opening doors to places that the homeless can call home. Bellflower will do the same.
While low in traditional resources such as social service organizations, clinics, and shelters, Bellflower is rich in manpower, volunteerism, and community activism. People want to do something; they want to help. The Bellflower Counts campaign will answer the question, “how?”, and will begin homeless on the road to housing. It will bring Bellflower’s homeless issue to the forefront of people’s minds, and will help build momentum behind the community’s efforts to house the homeless.
Would you like to join us? We still need more volunteers, donations, and financial contributions to support our Vulnerability Index efforts, and there are many costs involved in moving someone into housing as well. But with your help, we will do it! Please contact Kim Barnette at email@example.com to find out more about how you can be a part of ending homelessness in Bellflower!