How to REALLY Help a Homeless Person!

Sometimes recognizing a homeless person is difficult. Many want to remain unrecognized. But there are those who are obviously homeless and, if you are truly caring, your heart goes out to them. You see them bundled against the cold and the rain or walking down the street in 104 degree weather and you want to do something for them. Perhaps they are temporarily taking refuge in the back corner of a fast-food restaurant but they obviously can’t afford to buy any food there. They look empty and lonely and apparently have no one in the world to turn to or confide in. Your first thought is “I can put them in a motel for a few nights.” Five nights in a cheap motel will cost you about $250. And what do they get for that? Five nights in a motel. That’s all.
But if you take them to a shelter such as ours and make a donation of $250 to the shelter they can get 25 nights in a comfortable bed, 3 meals a day, assistance obtaining an ID card, birth certificate and social security card. They take part in daily devotions and life-skills classes to help them improve themselves and prepare for independence. They get companionship with people who understand their situation and encouragement to begin working on becoming the person God intended them to be. They get referrals to a wide variety of agencies and ministries that they may not know about. They can get assistance obtaining food stamps and, if necessary, psychological counseling. They get help obtaining clothing and searching for employment. We can even get them financial aid and assistance enrolling in college classes at the local community college.
But most of all they also hear God’s message of salvation that they so desperately need.
So what do you think is the best deal for them? 5 nights in a cheap motel or a month of assistance in changing their life?
We’ve been getting people on their feet for 7 years now and have seen some amazing transformations. We have put a person in a bed for a night over 70,000 times. We have served over 160,000 meals. We have seen hundreds come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. That’s all.
Join us in helping change people’s lives. Click here to “REALLY” help a homeless person

Anniversary Time!

Spring is here and with April’s arrival is the 7th anniversary of Johnson County Christian Lodge. When the Lodge (now known as the south campus) first opened in 2010 there was no way of knowing how many lives would be touched by this new ministry. For 13 months, during construction, everybody I spoke with told me that there was no need for it since there are no homeless people in Johnson County. That proved to be incorrect since we were full within a week and have remained so as people came and went. Many were able to find permanent housing and jobs and those are our success stories. 1742 individuals have been served in those 7 years with a total of over 71,000 bed/nights. 25% of our residents have been under the age of 16. We have served single men, single women and families. 5 babies have been born to women while they were residents at the Lodge. Fortunately they all made it to the hospital so none were actually born in the Lodge.

Thanks to the dedication of our homeless liaisons from the Cleburne Independent School District our school-aged residents were all immediately enrolled in school within 48 hours of their arrival. Many times the street in front of the Lodge looks like a school bus parade as children are picked up and dropped off daily. They are given time and encouragement for doing their homework and most of them get the best grades they have ever gotten in their lives while living with us.
Unfortunately some have come to us near the end of their lives due to both chronic and acute diseases. 2 men were given a place to live here while they finished out their lives with some degree of dignity. Having no family or place to live we became their final home.

We have taken in referrals from numerous churches, the police departments in Johnson County, Child Protective Services, Pecan Valley Centers for Mental health and Mental Retardation, Johnson County Jail, and private individuals. There are countless others as well who have brought us victims of poverty and homelessness.
We have assisted young adults who have spent their lives in foster homes but have reached 18 years of age and have “aged out” of CPS care. We have had to become their families while they learn the life skills they never acquired in a long string of foster homes. One young lady told us that she had been in 64 placements from age 2 when she was removed from her abusive home until age 18. Most have never learned to cook, do laundry, take care of money or get a job. Things that most people take for granted.

Throughout this month I will be posting some of our success stories as well as stories of some who didn’t do as well. All who have come to us were given equal opportunities for success. Some just made some very bad choices.

Helping the homeless to recover is never easy. I have always said that this has been the most difficult ministry I have ever had and yet has been the most rewarding.

Please pray daily for the staff and residents at our Lodge. God’s help is the only hope here.