Partnership will help the homelessUnited Lutheran Church has paid for its home, so now members want to help fund one for others who need it.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
United Lutheran Church has paid for its home, so now members want to help fund one for others who need it.
The church and HOPE Coalition are working together to provide transitional housing to community members facing homelessness. United Lutheran’s congregation is paying for an apartment in town, and the HOPE Coalition is providing services and handling screening.
“In Red Wing there is no homeless shelter, so people don’t have many options,” United Lutheran Pastor Steve Timm said. “The partnership provides this transitional housing piece that didn’t really exist in Red Wing.”
Timm said after the church’s mortgage was paid, he wanted to encourage continued giving.
“We thought about the people that had been giving to the building fund and wanted to offer them an opportunity that met with their reason for giving,” he said. “They were already giving to a bricks-and-mortar kind of project, so maybe we could inspire them to give to another bricks-and-mortar project that is just outside our congregation.”
HOPE Coalition director Kris Kvols said there is a need in the community for transitional housing, and it has been increasing.
The closest homeless shelters are in Rochester and St. Paul, Kvols said.
Locally, there are ways to find housing for a day or week, and a number of longer-term transitional housing options in Goodhue County through HOPE Coalition and Three Rivers Community Action. But a gap remained somewhere in between.
The money raised for the project, Homes for God’s Children, will be divided between an international homelessness relief effort and the local apartment. The funding goal for the year is $20,000, and to date about $12,000 has been raised.
Not only has the congregation donated funds, but apartment furnishings — “from a couch down to toilet paper” — have come in too, Timm said.
“We’ve been so impressed with their outpouring of support and dedication to the project,” Kvols said.
Those who don’t attend the church also can donate to the housing project. The budget is separate from the church’s, Timm said, so donations can be specific to the project.
Kvols said she is hoping to sign a lease on the apartment this week and open it up next month.
Those who would need the services would contact HOPE Coalition. They would need to have some sort of long-term housing plan in place, but need somewhere to stay in the meantime, Kvols said.
The hope is to add a second apartment in the near future.
“This is a starting point,” Kvols said. “We would be able to fill it several times over in any given week.”
Timm said the church voted on the project at the annual meeting, and the response was enthusiastic.
“People want to support it and are very excited about it,” he said. “It’s something that means a lot to us as Christians.”