Eugene Cho

homelessness just isn’t as sexy…

Let’s be honest: the issue of homelessness just isn’t as sexy as some of other ‘justice’ issues like the global water crisis, human trafficking, or shoes. Yes, I just went there.

The reasons for homelessness are numerous and complex but the numbers – indicating real people – are real. Very real.

  • Approximately 2.3 – 3.5 million people are homeless each year in U.S. (Urban Institute)
  • 12 million adults in U.S. currently are or have been homeless at some point in their lives. (National Coalition for the Homeless)
  • The largest and fastest growing group of homeless folks are families with children, comprising 40% of the homeless population, mostly with single mother head of household. Average homeless family has 2.2 children. (HUD)
  • 33% of homeless men are veterans. (HUD)
  • 22% of single adult homeless population suffer from severe and persistent mental illness. (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2001)

In the Seattle area alone, on any given night there are 7,980 homeless in Seattle/King County.

This is the main reason why Quest Church envisioned and funded a ministry called The Bridge Care Center and I can’t tell you how proud, encouraged, and convicted I am to be a part of this ministry. It’s the aspect of Quest that I’m most proud of this past year. What is the BCC?

The Bridge Care Center, a ministry of Quest Church, is an outreach center for men and women who are experiencing homelessness and displacement, allowing relationships to develop through advocacy and case management. We seek to provide partnerships and support to adults, youth and families who are experiencing homelessness and financial hardship. The Bridge Care Center’s work is about dignity and acknowledging people with value and meaning. [RSS readers: click here to see the video]

I’m so proud of our church because in spite of a challenging financial year, the church community blew past our announced goal of raising $50K and they gave nearly $75,000 to help underwrite the vision of the Bridge! We brought on our first staff (and case manager) and numerous volunteers to initially focus on three main areas:

  • Advocacy and Referral Services
  • Computer & Communication
  • Clothing Bank

How you can help?

This request is especially directed to anyone and everyone that lives in the greater Seattle area. I’d like to sincerely ask you to consider 3 very simple ways to support The Bridge. While a ministry of Quest, this operation is couple miles from our location and designed to serve the larger Seattle area – and especially the Ballard area where there are numerous challenges but very limited resources.

CLOTHING. We need your clothes. Seriously. I want your clothes. I’ll send volunteers to your home to pick them up or you can drop them off at the Bridge or at the Q Cafe. I’ll also take your extra blankets or sleeping bags.

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS.  Yes. Can you consider investing $25, $50, $100, or another amount. You can send in your donations to: Quest Church (c/o Bridge Care Center), 3223 15th Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119

If you’re a pastor of a local church, I’d like to especially ask you and your congregation to make a donation to The Bridge. 100% of your donation will go directly to fund the three focuses of Advocacy & Referral Services, Computer & Communication, and Clothing Bank.

VOLUNTEER. Please contact jill@seattlequest.org and we’ll get you up and running. Asides from one paid staff, the entire Bridge Care Center is run by volunteers.

Joking aside, I’m glad that God calls us respectively and collectively to seek good, love mercy, do justice – here, there, and everywhere. But as we go there and everywhere, I’m regularly reminded – by the lines of people that are literally waiting for the Bridge doors to open every week – that we can’t forget to focus on the here.

Folks need shoes here, too.

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13 Responses

  1. Andy Wade says:

    Good Job, Quest! Blessings upon you all as you expand the presence of the Kingdom of God!

  2. KL says:

    Thank you for this post. I think many of us (including myself) struggle inwardly with how to respond when we think about our responsibility as Christians (and really, as fellow human-beings) when we see someone on the street who is clearly in need. Having a place like The Bridge Care Center to refer them to is an effective way to help meet that responsibility.

  3. Thank you so much for posting this, Pastor Eugene. I watched the video and I am so moved by the ministries of Quest. Since moving from Seattle, I have really missed being a part of the church. I loved the tight knit community, the honest humility, and the sincere passion to love God and love people. Keep up the amazing work, and I hope to get involved when I can.

  4. Stephen says:

    I have a bunch of clothes I just picked out of my closet. If I bring them to church tomorrow where can I leave them?

  5. Nancy Howerton says:

    I would love to find a similar ministry in the Orange County, California area. I was moved by the video and was so blessed by all you do. If I could, I would give you tons of clothes!! When I come up to visit my kids, maybe I’ll bring an extra suitcase filled with my closet! We are so blessed and I am always looking for ways to give positive, Christian help to those in need. Keep up the great work and God’s blessings to you all, and your amazing sounding church!!

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Nancy,

      Thanks for the note. As much as we’d love those clothes, I’m sure there are groups, non-profits, clothing banks, agencies, churches, etc. that would absolutely love and can use those clothes.

      Thanks for the encouragement.

  6. Awesome. I am consistently blown away and challenged by all that your tribe does.

  7. That’s awesome. I was just writing about how the church needs to take steps to meet needs in the community. Well done, guys.

  8. Stephen says:

    Fantastic, bro! We struggle, daily, here in Mexico city, as well. It is quite overwhelming. This past week we treated 15 street kids feet, traded their shoes and socks out and gave them a healthy dose of the gospel. Several of them have trench foot (that we treated), open sores, toe nails that are contorted, and black gunk that was, nearly, unwilling to leave their feet. You are right… it sure isn’t sexy, but what a blessing. Thanks for keeping the homeless on the forefront of people’s minds! – Stephen

  9. […] Here’s an update of the Bridge Care Center (about 9 months post launching) and video: […]

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One Day’s Wages

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In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove .
May we keep working 
on ourselves 
even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
is the great temptation 
of our times.

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