Reflecting on 2016
In my 20 year of association with the House of Refuge I must admit that 2016 was undoubtedly the most remarkable of them all. Some moments were exceedingly difficult. But, a deeply rooted faith in God, the families we serve and belief in our remarkable community sustained me. So I am extraordinarily proud to announce that House of Refuge is emerging from those difficult days and starting 2017 on a powerfully high note.
However, I feel compelled to start this note by saying that even though I may not have agreed with the defunding methodology by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in May I would be remiss if I did not thank them for their 19 years of financial support. Because of their support the dedicated staff at House of Refuge was able to develop an effective program. In our 20 years of service to the homeless community we have been able to support over 7,000 brave individuals as they strive to repair their broken spirits and lives and begin the work of building a brighter future.
I thank you, our valued community partners, who stalwartly stood by us. Because of you I am able to write this note today and inform you that in the last 45 days we have successfully secured funding to support 40 homes in 2017. I am reminded that some partners have given out of plenty and some have given through sacrifice. My promise to you is to be a good steward of each and every gift. Because of your generosity we will continue to guide families out of their cycles of homelessness and into permanent housing. On behalf of every life you touch I extend a heartfelt thank YOU.
I am also reminded that our ultimate goal is full funding for all 88 House of Refuge homes. Why, because in December 2016 in Maricopa County, with all homeless service providers at full capacity, there were 582 families waiting for housing on a centralized waiting list, 51 families were without shelter on Christmas. Meanwhile, an additional 47 more families fall into homeliness every week. 29% of those reside in the East Valley. House of Refuge has empty homes waiting to secure funding so we can welcome them home and help them prepare for a new, sustainable life.
So, once again I stand in faith and reach out to you to ask that you continue to stand with me, united as a community that says we will not allow families fleeing domestic violence, or facing the overwhelming odds of homelessness, to feel marginalized and alone. I ask you to continue to reach out to your circles of influence as we say homelessness in our community is unacceptable. Join me in the daily battle against homelessness until we can assist every family, every child have a safe place to call home.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ……Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers you did it to me.” Mathew 25: 31 – 40
I am humbled and honored at the number of partners and friends I have made in this amazing community I call home. In closing I simply say THANK YOU! This journey would be impossible without you.