Jackson Fonder, President and CEO of Catholic Charities, visited three homeless centers while in Texas last week and learned what he can for our new homeless day resource center which will open later this year in Madison.
He started at True Worth Place in Fort Worth with Dr. James Petrovich. People are experiencing homelessness but there is hope. Jackson writes, "I worked alongside employees and volunteers, learning as much as I could about shelter processes, policies, and building design. This shelter just opened on December 15th so they are learning too. I walked away with a lot of notes, a ton of lessons, and a great deal of respect for our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness. I especially enjoyed my time with James. A volunteer who is still homeless, but when I asked him why he volunteered, he smiled and said "'if I work hard enough and show them what I can do, I'm hoping they'll give me a job. Then I can find my own place.'"
Later Jackson met with Bob Sweeney, Exec Director of Dallas LIFE. Bob and his team are leading cutting edge programs with the homeless in Dallas and producing extraordinary results. We're excited to see which of those best practices we'll bring to the new homeless day resource center here in Madison!
Continuing his journey through Texas, he then visited Haven for Hope— a 22-acre campus, with capacity of 1,500 individuals, that provides case management, job training, residential facilities, a safe outdoor sleeping area for 650 adults needing temporary shelter and basic services, and coordination of partner services. With help from 91 partnered organizations, housing, substance abuse and mental health services are provided at The Center for Health Care Services.
The San Antonio Food Bank and St. Vincent de Paul Society provide meals, and the YMCA of Greater San Antonio provides early childhood education and after school care. These are just a few of the partners that guide people experiencing homelessness through a recovery framework and comprehensive on-site social services.
While at Haven for Hope Jackson met a former-homeless woman named Ruth. Jackson writes, “I especially enjoyed my conversation with Ruth, who was homeless and "broken" (her word) just two years ago. She shared her story with me, how she came to Haven and made her way through the recovery process and ended up working in a full-time position for them. She makes a little more than $2,000 a month. 'Not enough,' she says, 'but it's a start and I feel like I have my life back.' Employing many of the people they serve is at the heart of Haven for Hope's mission. They refer to this practice as ‘Peer Services.’”
If you're interested in joining the volunteer team or giving to the new homeless resource center in Madison, please contact Derrick Smith at DSmith@ccmadison.org.