Find the Gap. Don't Overlap
Part 1: Homeless in a Pandemic
From time to time we host a guest on our newsletter. Mark Boorse is the Director of Program Development at Access Services, and a member of the Intersect Team. He is sharing in two parts: the first is a reflection on a community project to support individuals experiencing homelessness. In the second, he will talk about applying lessons learned in the project to other issues affecting our communities.
“Find the gap. Don’t overlap”. This mantra was born in the middle of the pandemic. In a “zoom-room” with members of local churches, human service providers, and representatives of local and county government. The topic was how to come together to help our neighbors who were homeless in a pandemic. When the stay-at-home order happened two years ago, it meant that individuals experiencing homelessness were locked out of the very things they depended on for survival.
This was a desperate time that called for a completely new and different response. A group began to gather, organically at first, then strategically, and gained both membership and momentum over time. And adopted the focusing mantra as a way to align resources and activity.
The result was far beyond what we had hoped for: gear and PPE to help folks stay safe for prolonged periods outside, a port-o-potty campaign so they had a place to use the bathroom, and the addition of 75 winter shelter beds.
There were several takeaways from our time working collaboratively on this project:
· The need was far greater than any one sector of the community’s capacity to address.
· There were many individuals and groups who were very committed to helping but were usure how best to do that effectively.
· Intentionally organizing in a collaborative and innovative way generated an effective response well beyond any one sector’s ability to help.
· Additionally, collaboration on the project set the stage for collaborating to address other issues as well.
The link below is to a short article with very practical tips for churches in considering how they might impact homelessness in their communities. It also describes collaborative activities and relationships from across the community. If you are coming from a church perspective, what strikes you as something that your congregation could do as a practical step? If you are from another part of the community, how might these suggestions apply to your perspective?
Mark Boorse, Director of Program Development at Access Services
Below are resources for the purpose of wellness, education, and service.
Finding Hope and Giving Hope to Your Coworkers in a Post COVID World
Join us Friday, April 22nd! Doors open at 6:30 AM so come early, grab some coffee and network.
Come connect with other women and men following Christ in the Marketplace. Learn ways you can live out your faith at your workplace.
You'll be encouraged by our guest speaker, Dave Eckert, Director of the Intersect Initiative, Access Services. He will speak on "Finding Hope and Giving Hope to Your Co-workers in a Post-COVID World."
Date: Friday, April 22nd, 2022
Time: 6:30AM - 9AM
Location: Crowne Plaza Philadelphia - King of Prussia
260 Mall Boulevard, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Faith & Mental Health Summit
How does our mental health affect us as individuals? What about its impact on communities and churches? What are challenges in talking about, and taking care of our faith and mental health of ourselves, children, and families? How can we do better? Let’s talk about it!
Date: Saturday, April 30th, 2022
Time: 8:00AM - 12:00PM
Location: Upper Perkiomen Community Church
258 Main Street, East Greenville, PA 18041
"Better Together" Training Series
Faith-based leaders are often the first point of contact when individuals and families face mental health problems or traumatic events. When leaders know how to respond, they become significant assets to the overall behavioral health system. You are invited to join this virtual eight-week training to learn various evidence-based recovery oriented techniques to enhance collaboration amongst faith-based leaders, congregants, and behavioral health professionals. Participants will improve their skills and knowledge in developing community-based partnerships that will connect with and support individuals living with mental illness.
Time: Wednesdays, April 27 - June 22* from 12:00pm - 1:00pm EDT
Where: Virtual (Zoom)
Registration is required.
*No session on June 8, 2022
Looking for a way to help those in your community?
Intersect: Community Needs Facebook Group
This Facebook group functions as a care portal for faith communities who are looking to meet local needs in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. We will post needs specific to the individuals supported by Access Services. These may include needs for relational support, material resources, and/or monetary donations. We encourage you to share this page with your family and friends. While we started this page to provide concrete service opportunities to local faith communities, we encourage any community members who are interested in giving back to join!
Become a Foster Parent
You can help a child make memories for a lifetime. There are many children and teens in your community who need people like you to open your heart and give them a safe, loving place to call home. Foster parents can make a difference in a child’s life by setting a good example and providing the time, care, and attention that every child deserves.
Become a Lifesharing Provider
By becoming a Lifesharing Provider, you will have the opportunity to open your home and share your life with an adult with an intellectual disability. Your support and assistance will enrich an individual’s life by affording them the opportunity to become a fully participating member of their community and empowering them to reach for and achieve their goals and aspirations.
- What lessons has your organization or faith community learned through the pandemic that will be valuable to life beyond it?
- How can you resist going back to normal and grow from what you have learned in this time?
Do you have something to contribute or a question to ask?
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