Fr. Bill’s 30 year mission to end homelessness now consists of two shelters, family and veteran’s homes, a Work Express Program with a commitment to sobriety and “on the job training”, and a Distribution Center.
A portion of my IVC service is spent at this Center. You would find all the necessities for the multiple scattered shelter sites here, including kitchen, bath, and bedding essentials. Another area of the Center is dedicated to guests who have been awarded an apartment, or guests in need of warm clothing, toiletries. They are always accompanied and supported by their social worker. Fr. Bill’s will have 380 housing units by the end of 2015 in an effort to provide critical housing and supportive services to the most vulnerable in our community.
The Center has a special wooden clothing rack (built by the Work Express team) for guests anticipating job interviews. We’re so pleased when we’re able to find the right sizes, the perfect tie to enhance their outfit. It gives them confidence to face a new experience with a goal of financial independence.
“Tammy” and her 3 year old daughter “Emily” arrived with her social worker last week. She had been counseled by the staff at the family shelter regarding budgeting, saving funds in an effort to become self sufficient, and had just been awarded a housing grant. She had also participated in parenting classes, and had worked diligently at a part time position.
She presented with a delightful, infectious smile. Our Distribution staff helped her to choose dishes, bedding, towels, warm clothing, and some toys for her daughter (held as a Christmas surprise). Fr. Bill’s also provides mattresses and simple furniture. She was very appreciative, and over the course of her visit, shared some moments of disappointment and despair in her life. She and her daughter had been homeless, frequently wandering the streets before being welcomed into Fr. Bill’s network. She was especially grateful to have been granted a safe place of her own, a space where she can reflect, rejuvenate and pray.
We all frequently take these simple gifts for granted, being able to furnish our homes as we wish, but most of all, being able to retreat to our special space after a long day.
With my best wishes for 2015, Carol
Carol Armstrong is a second year Ignatian Volunteer in New England serving at the Fr. Bill’s & Mainspring shelter and at their Distribution Center in Brockton MA. She had spent 52 years as an Emergency nurse. She and her husband live in Duxbury, MA and are blessed with 4 daughters and 7 grandchildren.