Board Chair’s Report
“Don’t get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don’t give up.” – Galatians 6:9
This work isn’t easy – not even for us.
A pregnant 26-year-old woman and her 6-year-old daughter arrive on the doorstep of Helping Hand House, fleeing an abusive relationship, with the hope of finding a space – any space – to stay for the night. I’ll call her Ava (not her real name.) Ava and her daughter have been living in a car after being released from the hospital, having recently been beaten by her fiancé. She has no place to go. No hope…
After verifying Ava’s story to be true, we set her up in a local motel for at least one night of peace and safety. When Ava meets with Lisa, HHH’s case manager for our Emergency Shelter Program, she is lovingly and enthusiastically accepted for who she is, right where she is, to begin her journey back to self-sufficiency for her family. Lisa has a warm smile and loving heart, but she’s no pushover. She clearly communicates some basic rules of the program and the path toward success for our program, encouraging her along the way. Lisa’s clear message – “We are here to help! Work the program, and we will help you find a home! Get a good night’s sleep and we’ll start tomorrow morning!” Ava graciously agrees, says thank you, and closes the door, retreating to her room.
I wish I could tell you that Ava’s story ends well. But unfortunately, she wasn’t ready. That evening, Ava had friends and alcohol in the room that night, both violations of the program, so she had to move on…
It’s part of the risk and cost of reaching out to the homeless. It’s often very messy. It’s one of reasons that most people prefer not to engage homeless people directly. Unique stories, endless poor decisions, and complicated family histories all play into the drama of family homelessness.
That’s where WE – you, your neighbors, your community, and Helping Hand House – MATTER. Together, we take steps of faith and compassion as we reach out to help hurting people. Some of our clients make the turn toward productive, healthy living. And some do not. But God encourages us, together, to carry on and not give up.
We finished 2017 having served 151 families in our housing programs. For every situation that doesn’t work, like Ava, there are multiple families that make good choices, work the program, and end up finding their new home with our help – the first step on their path toward healthy and self-sufficient lives.
‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.’ – Matthew 25:21 – Jesus’s Parable of the Talents
It’s the paradigm of the Master: be faithful with a little and you’ll be entrusted with more. That’s our team, contributors, volunteers and staff…faithful and fruitful. As we continue to serve faithfully – what does God have for us next?
We’re pleased to announce an exciting new partnership that will multiply the number of families Helping Hand House serves in 2018! Open Hearth Ministries (OHM), an amazingly dedicated group of volunteers serving homeless families in Puyallup for over 17 years, has recently joined Helping Hand House as a fully-incorporated program. In doing so, HHH is now only agency in Pierce County taking families living on the street, moving them directly into a hotel through OHM, then on to Emergency Shelter for 30 days, then provide training and financial assistance for a family to move into their own permanent housing solution – ENDING their crisis of homelessness! We expect to assist over 250 families this year with this new program change! One agency, multiple programs, ONE LOCATION! Capturing the best of all programs, OHM and HHH will operate seamlessly to deliver efficient and effective housing crisis solutions to families in need in our community! We couldn’t be more proud and excited about what this means for our community.
There’s a lot more work to be done. There are hundreds of homeless families that have yet to be reached. But by God’s grace, we are moving that much closer to being entrusted with those lives as well.
David Sattler, Board Chair