Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Local News

October 19, 2012

Homeless Coalition to have public meeting

Church congregations encouraged to attend

AVON — The Hendricks County Homeless Coalition, the idea for which started in 2010, is ready to present its plan for combating its namesake issue at an upcoming meeting, and all in the community are invited.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Avon Christian Church, 7236 E. C.R. 100 S. Claas Ehlers, director of affiliate service for Family Promise, will present his organization's religious-based approach for helping homeless families.

"This will be a chance for the community to come and get detailed information about how this program will look, function, and plan to achieve its goals," said Dr. Mike Hartley, who serves on the homeless coalition's executive committee.

The idea behind Family Promise's Interfaith Hospitality Network is that a volunteer organization - most likely a church - hosts a homeless family for a week once per quarter. During the day that family is transported to needed resources like schools or job centers.

Hartley estimates they need at least 13 committed congregations to effectively run the program.

"We plan on trying to get people to commit or say whether they're interested in being involved, so we have an idea on who's going to participate," he said. "The point isn't to pin people to the wall, but to move forward."

He added that there are no restrictions on which denominations or even religions can participate.

"The whole point of this is to embrace these homeless families as the humans they are and not the social outcasts they think they've become," Hartley said. "The great thing about this model is it allows the community to get involved."

He also notes that most churches and other places of worship tend to sit empty most of the week.

"That's another great thing about this model - it uses existing structures rather than forcing us to raise funds to build new ones that are otherwise hard to support," Hartley said.

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