Today, April 19, 2019 marks the celebration of both the first night of Passover and Good Friday. Not coincidentally these holidays often coincide. Each holiday is a bittersweet reflection of deliverance from despair. Each holiday also, an opportunity to build community, to support each other as we reflect on how we have over come adversity in our own lives.
No matter your faith tradition, the story arc from despair to joy, from enslavement to self-determination, from sinner to neighbor is a common thread. For those of us whose careers have led us to serve the homeless, people struggling with addiction, mental illness, poverty we see the living embodiment of this struggle every day.
As we enter this weekend of reflection, I challenge you to think of the 650+ folks we have helped house this year alone. As we continue to work towards a system where there are zero chronically homeless people this is the data we must use to rewrite the narrative that people can’t get housed. It is not correct to say there are people who cannot be housed. People are getting housed and being successful staying housed. We are housing people with addiction, mental illness, zero income, with lengthy criminal histories we are even housing people who are schizophrenic or sex offenders.
This week we have 12 names on our by-name list. 17 names are on our not-by- name list. This list was once over 200 people.
As you celebrate this weekend, or simply enjoy the company of your loved ones, take time to reflect on the power you felt in your life when someone believed in you, believed that you could overcome adversity. Think about the power of being in community, in relationship with others. And on Monday, let us each come to work and believe that together we are a mighty force and together we can help our last 29 chronically homeless folks find housing.
- Andrea Kurtz