This is Tia and Jonny. They are homeless.
They have been part of various Vernon social programs over the years but are now choosing for a number of reasons to follow their own path. They have overnighted in our church yard since spring this year. They do their best to keep out of the direct view of the surrounding homes so as not to cause offense.
The cold of winter has made it necessary for them to find indoor accommodation.
They have secured a very basic motel room which costs them $500 per week. Their small disability grant is not enough to make ends meet and they are constantly at risk of being evicted. We feel we would love to help them.
I asked Richard Rolke to join me as we met last Saturday morning. They have given us permission to share their story.
They are both still self-medicating drug users, costing them up to $100 per day. They would love to be ‘clean’ but are fearful. Tia is especially terrified that she would have to deal with ‘ghosts’ from her past as her mind clears. Both are longing for a place that they could call home and not have to worry about where they will sleep for the night.
We can do something
We know that the homeless population of Vernon is struggling. We know that there is not much that we as a faith community can do to fix that, and we are deeply grateful for the hard work of our many social organisations to address this. But we also have a sense in which we can do something tangible to help this couple right now.
Trinity has already paid for two weeks of their motel accommodation. While we are hopeful that something less expensive may come up, we do not have funds to pay for any more. We would love to establish a homeless relief fund to assist them with accommodation over the next freezing months, even as we help them regain some direction for the next steps of their lives. I have permission from the Board to ask for you please to think about whether you feel moved to help us create such a fund.
Homeless Relief Fund
Cheques for any amount can be made out to Trinity United Church with memo: ‘Homeless’ or direct deposit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hear more of the stories
Kevin McInnes (our Facilities minister) and Richard Rolke (a former Chair of our Board) have both met Tia and Jonny and want to tell you about them. Please read their compelling letters.
Many thanks, and warmest Christmas love and blessings
Robin Jacobson (Minister)
‘…for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’