Family shelter program serving local citizens hosts fundraiser

More than 230 community and congregation leaders and volunteers have registered for The Journey Home, a fundraising lunch for the Families Moving Forward shelter program expected to launch in the Scott-Carver counties area by Mother’s Day.
The lunch took place at the Hazeltine National Golf Club on Wednesday, March 12. It was expected to help raise the final $120,000 needed to begin operations in May.
Families Moving Forward is a program of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. A group from area congregations approached Beacon last year to explore an expansion to serve the Scott-Carver. Through the program, volunteers from congregations provide shelter and hospitality to homeless families at congregation sites, while the families work closely with program staff to find housing and other resources to help them get back on their feet.
Featured speakers at the event will include Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight, who serves on the Families Moving Forward Southwest Leadership Committee. Also on the program are Laura Helmer, the committee chair; Rev. Mark Schmid, associate pastor at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church; and Doug Peterson, executive director of Love, Inc. of Eastern Carver County. Each will speak about how they see homelessness in the Scott-Carver area, and how they see themselves as part of the solution by their involvement in creating shelter.
Family homelessness rose 4 percent in Minnesota between 2009 and 2012, according to Wilder Research, but among two-parent families, homelessness rose 17 percent. In Scott and Carver counties, 52 families, including 82 adults and 90 children, were homeless on the day of a point-in-time survey made in January, 2012. There are no shelters for homeless people in either county.
Families Moving Forward is the shelter program of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that also develops affordable housing and coordinates legislative advocacy about homelessness and housing in partnership with more than 60 congregations in the Twin Cities.
Its existing Minneapolis-based shelter program serves up to eight homeless families at a time, offering emergency shelter and support to find and maintain stable housing. Families Moving Forward has served families from Scott and Carver counties when space is available. The congregations of Trinity Lutheran Church and Faith Lutheran Church in Waconia are among the local groups that will be working with the program.

Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative
Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative is a growing mission-driven organization in the social sector. Beacon partners with Twin Cities congregations to create affordable and supportive housing for very low-income individuals and families; run the Families Moving Forward shelter program; and advocate for public resources and policies to end homelessness.
To learn more, visit www.beaconinterfaith.org.

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