Village House: Year-Round Rotating Shelter Beginning January 2017
Last year we opened our Church and our hearts to fifteen homeless women. It was a transformative experience for all involved from the volunteers, staff and the women themselves. We provided them with shelter and meals in a supportive, loving, and compassionate environment. The response from our parishioners was overwhelming – over 600 volunteers supported the program. While we hosted them here for just one month, they rotated to three other churches for a total of four months. Most of them managed to find permanent solutions to their predicament of being on the streets but sadly some of them just headed back to the streets after a brief stay in other shelters. The experience served as the impetus for all of the participating churches to expand their efforts next year.
In conversation with our partner churches and Holy Spirit Parish leadership teams, we’re thrilled to announce that Holy Spirit Parish will lead a network of churches and religious organizations to provide a year-round rotating shelter for homeless women beginning in January 2017. The shelter will be called Village House.
Holy Spirit Parish will be the first church in the yearlong rotation starting in January, 2017. Currently, seven churches have signed on to provide evening shelter and another two will provide day-time respite. Our plan is to once again use the church building itself to house our guests.
We will provide our women guests with meals and a safe environment during the evening. Volunteers will help with preparing and serving meals, overnight supervision, laundry, clothing, security and transportation, as well as ministering to the women’s need for care and companionship. We’re also delighted to announce that Village House will receive grant funding from the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley to provide showers every night, a luxury most of us take for granted. Life on the street for these women provides few opportunities for showers and clean clothes.
In addition to Holy Spirit, the other faith-based organizations providing evening shelters will include St. Francis Cabrini (Catholic), St. Martin of Tours (Catholic), Willow Glen United Methodist, Temple Emanu-El (Jewish), St. Timothy Lutheran Church and Cathedral of Faith (Evangelical). Churches providing centers during the day will include Good Samaritan Episcopal and St. Francis Episcopal churches. The Network is still looking for partners to fill out the 12-month schedule for 2017.
We are so excited that we have been able to start this yearlong rotating shelter with churches of multiple backgrounds and we truly believe the Lord is guiding us to be a leader in this endeavor. We want to thank Mike Ferrero for his leadership in this and we ask every parishioner to get involved personally when we open the signups. Please pray for the success of this ministry as we believe it will serve as a model for other parishes throughout the county.