As we prepare for Thanksgiving I want to tell you how thankful I am for all that has happened this year concerning the issue of homelessness in our city and county. This time last year very few people were aware of the issue and very little was being done to address homelessness. Often, especially during the cold winter months, I felt like I was all alone, with very little support, trying to operate an emergency shelter. While I was thankful for those who were helping me, I was frustrated because more people did not recognize the problem. However, this Thanksgiving is different! The awareness that has been brought to this problem has been astounding. We now have a non-profit whose only focus is homelessness. For the first time ever, we provided emergency shelter during the extreme hot days of summer. AND, we received a donation of $250,000 to go toward a permanent homeless shelter! It is amazing what God will do when His people come together. I am forever grateful for all that has transpired this year. NOW, LET’S KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING! (Pastor Kevin)
SUMMER EMERGENCY SHELTER
From August 1st through October 3rd we provided emergency shelter when the temperature reached 90 degrees and above. The timing of us experimenting with summer shelter could not have been better. We experienced record heat! As a result, between August 1st and October 3rd we provided 39 nights of shelter at Franklin First United Methodist Church. Here is a quick rundown of what those 39 nights looked like:
- 34 individuals (including 9 children) stayed at least 1 night.
- Nighty Average
- 11 individuals
- 7 women
- 4 men
- 7 white
- 4 black
- 0.21 hispanic
- Total Cost
- $9,655.12 (total cost for 39 nights)
- $247.57 per night
- $22.51 per person (homeless advocates say if you keep the expense below $35 per person per night you are doing well; also, compared to how much it costs to house people in hotels, the savings is incredible)
- 12 different restaurants, 1 church, and 4 individuals provided meals. The restaurants were
- Cool Cafe
- Franklin Chop House
- Pueblo Real
- 55 South
- Catering by Suzette
- McAlister’s Deli
- Buca di Beppo
- Jason’s Deli
- Stroud’s BarBQ
- Please support these restaurants by giving them your business.
- Best of all, since August 1st we have placed 11 families/individuals who came through the emergency shelter into permanent housing. (All total, since July, we have placed 21 families/individuals experiencing homelessness into permanent housing.)
- Our goal is to reach “functional-zero.” This means our city/county has a system in place to make homelessness rare, brief, and quickly solved.
- Here is an article about a report that was given to the Franklin Board of Mayor and Alderman about our emergency shelter.
A quick explanation about expenses. Part of our ministry is to employ people. The people we employ to help run the shelter are people who need the work. Each night there are at least two paid monitors (1 male, 1 female) who stay the entire night. This provides security and consistency for our guests. When numbers exceed 14, we add a third monitor. Also, there is a person who arrives at the church early to help set up and stays until 9pm for extra support. That person then returns in the morning to help tear down and clean up. In addition, there is another person who drives one of our vans and picks people up that need to come to the shelter. Also, there is laundry that has to be done everyday. Finally, there is insurance and miscellaneous items that come up from time to time. As of right now, Franklin Community Development underwrites all expenses, and they need your help! There are three ways you can give to the emergency shelter:
- Write a check to the Williamson County Homeless Alliance and mail it to 200 Devrow Court, Franklin, TN 37064. (If you choose this method please note the tax-exempt status is pending.)
- Write a check to Franklin Community Development and mail it to 200 Devrow Court, Franklin, TN 37064 (tax-exempt).
- Click on this link, then click “Apply My Donation to Franklin Community Development” and give online.
In September we received a generous donation of $250,000 to go toward a permanent shelter. The donation was given by Rhonda Kemp in loving memory of her father. Words cannot express our eternal gratitude to Mrs. Kemp. This was totally a gift from God and unsolicited. We are actively looking, and planning, for a permanent shelter. If you know of anyone who would like to contribute to a permanent location please contact Kevin Riggs at 615-440-7553. Here are a couple of articles about this incredible gift.
WINTER EMERGENCY SHELTER
In case you have not noticed we skipped fall and jumped straight from summer to winter. By the time you receive this newsletter our emergency shelter will have been opened five nights because of cold weather. During the winter our goal is to provide shelter when the temperature drops to 32 degrees and below. We’ve got a feeling it is going to be a long, cold winter. In addition to Franklin First United Methodist Church, The Church at West Franklin has opened their doors to us. During the winter, on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, the shelter will be at The Church at West Franklin. All other nights will be at Franklin First United Methodist Church. A big thank-you to both churches for showing us such great hospitality.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
A question we are often asked is, “How can I get involved?” Here are a few suggestions:
- If you are interested in helping with food, contact Brandy at email@example.com. With winter upon us, this is extremely urgent.
- We are always in need of brand new socks and underwear (men’s and women’s).
- We can always use shampoo and body-wash.
- We can always use laundry detergent.
- We can always use Kroger gift cards.
- We can always use gift cards to restaurants.
- Underwrite a night of emergency shelter. The cost per night is $250. (See above for instructions on how and where to give.)
- Ask your church to put us in their missions/outreach budget. (Have your church contact Pastor Kevin Riggs at 615-440-7553.)
- Ask your place of business to underwrite a night of emergency shelter. (See above for instructions on how and where to give.)
- Ask your Sunday School class or small group to underwrite a night of emergency shelter. (See above for instructions on how and where to give.)
- Invite Pastor Kevin to come to your church/business/organization to share the vision of how we can holistically minister to people experiencing homelessness. You can contact Pastor Kevin at )615) 440-7553 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pray, pray, and pray some more. This is the most important thing you can do for us and those we serve.