Bridge of Hope
CHURCHES RESPOND. HOMELESSNESS ENDS. HOPE BEGINS.
Bridge of Hope is a 12-24 month program designed to assist families facing homelessness achieve family stability. We believe this includes safe and sustainable housing, strong and resilient families and supportive relationships with Neighboring Volunteers.
Bridge of Hope is a three-way partnership between:
- A Family Facing Homelessness (typically a single mother with two children)
- One trained group of 6-10 Neighboring Volunteers
- A Case Manager who trains and equips Neighboring Volunteers and provides services for each family facing homelessness
You Can Make a Difference. Become a Neighboring Volunteer.
- Open your heart: Give support, encouragement, and build a relationship.
- Open your hands: Offer tangible, practical support, such as help looking for housing and childcare, help with transportation, household furnishings, meals, etc.
- Open doors: Use your personal and professional networks to help a family find housing, medical providers, employment, or other resources to support a family's long term success.
For more information, please reach out to Home Sweet Home's Bridge of Hope Navigator, Edgar Miller, at 309-828-7356 ext. 213. Thank you so much!
Neighboring Volunteer Spotlight: Christ Temple Church
Home Sweet Home Ministries is blessed to have Christ Temple Church as a part of our Bridge of Hope program. For the past few years, the church has provided prayer and encouragement to two families in Bloomington-Normal.
When Christ Temple Church was first approached to participate as a Bridge of Hope Neighboring Volunteer group, they were eager to get involved.
“When we heard about it, we were ecstatic,” exclaims Ericka Howard, a member of Christ Temple Church. “Our Pastor picked a group of twelve of us to work on the project. Home Sweet Home came out and did a training. We were excited to help someone transitioning into their own place.”
Little did they know that their first client would be a fellow church member. “Our first client had already been a part of our church for two years,” shares Ericka. “We became very good friends and I would always invite him to dinner. He’s a part of our family.”
Through prayer and support, the church has provided him with hope and strength to continue to move forward. Having great success with their first client, Christ Temple happily reached out to help another family in need. But this time, the church had to take on a new approach.
“The time we met our second client, it was at the start of COVID-19. So we did a launch Zoom party. We were all online introducing ourselves and sending her pictures of us so she could know the team she was dealing with. That was really nice,” says Ericka.
Even though they couldn’t meet in person, Christ Temple decided to reach out and do something special for their new neighboring family. “We all got together, we went grocery shopping, and picked up things she needed. We put it on her porch and then I called her from my car,” says Ericka. “I was able to go up on the porch with my mask on and just introduce myself. She was so happy and grateful. She just started crying and saying, ‘Nobody has done anything like this for me. I’m just so grateful that you guys are looking out for me.’”
Christ Temple is thankful to help however they can. “Whether it’s to come out and offer some encouraging words or to just be there for them when they’re going through something, you can be there for them,” exclaims Ericka. “It’s not financial all the time. Sometimes it’s just listening. It’s just being able to be there for them.”
Despite the current times, Christ Temple’s faith stays strong. They do weekly check-ins and try to do an event or something else special for their clients every few months. When a neighboring family needs Christ Temple’s support, they’re just a phone call or zoom call away. “Sometimes it’s just a text to say that we’re thinking about them. When you call them and reach out to them, it gives them a sense of openness. It allows them to be open and honest with you.”
Being a Bridge of Hope Neighboring group has been a real blessing for Ericka and her fellow church members. They say it’s been a rewarding experience to watch their neighbors grow.
“We just want to help. That’s our main thing, to go out amongst the world and spread the glory and gospel of Jesus Christ,” shares Ericka. “We are so happy to be a part of this program. No doubt it there’s anything we can do to help a church get involved, we’d be happy to give some advice.”
If your group or church is interested in learning more about helping a family facing homelessness, please contact our Bridge of Hope Navigator, Edgar Miller at 309-828-7356 ext. 213. Thank You!
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