getting people home for the holidays
It is a big idea: Place 80 families that expected to be homeless over the holidays in permanent, stable housing. It would take $50,000 or $625 per family to do it.
Already, that goal set in October by Housing Resources Inc. has been exceeded, with $88,923 donated so far. To date 35 families have a Home for the Holiday and the effort is on track to find homes for 80 families.
The announcement by Michelle Davis, executive director of Housing Resources Inc., that 80 families will be in housing by year's end came at a reception sponsored by Art Van in conjunction with National Hunger and Homeless Awareness week.
The drive to find funds to house families in time for the holidays got off to a fast start with a $20,000 donation from the charitable organization Women Who Care. Art Van donated $2,500.
"No family should be homeless any time, especially during the holidays," says Davis. "We had 18 children in our family shelter last Christmas. We’re determined to make that number zero this year."
Because the community responded so strongly, Davis says Project Home For The Holidays will expand its scope to serve more people.
Each family’s situation is unique, requiring considerable time and effort by HRI staff to determine a family’s housing options, she says. Despite the challenges, HRI expects to meet that goal.
HRI provides programs and services that ensure safe, permanent housing for the homeless and stabilize housing for vulnerable individuals and families. HRI also works with area landlords and tenants in an attempt to forestall homelessness.
Its assistance includes a shelter for families with children, Eleanor House.
"Our supporters have shown tremendous commitment to our belief that shelters are a process, not a destination. The only solution to homelessness is housing," Davis says. "If the community will continue to support this project, we can place more families in homes of their own and get them out of homelessness in winter."
Project Home for the Holidays supporters are encouraged to show they've taken action by cutting out a snowflake that reads #KzooHome4Holidays and post it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites and tag Housing Resources Inc. There will be a modest prize for the first 500 who demonstrate they have posted a snowflake picture by sending by email a link to their post here
Donations to Project Home For The Holidays can be made in these ways:
• By check to Housing Resources Inc., 420 E Alcott St, Kalamazoo, MI 49001. Please note "Project Home For The Holidays" on the memo line.
• Online by clicking on "Make a Donation" here
Source: Rick Chambers, Rick Chambers and Associates
Pictured: Michelle Davis, executive director of HRI, announces progress to date on Project Home For The Holidays during a reception on Nov. 19. With her is Kailynn Mejeur, 8, of Parchment, who raised $101 for the project by selling hand-made paper snowflakes with candy bars.
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