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 firstname.lastname@example.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.