The HFF Homelessness Focus group supports the Courtney McGinnis Graham Community Shelter, administered by House of Hope. The Graham Shelter provides regular nightly shelter for 50-plus individuals. It includes space for men, women and families, offers the opportunity for on-site expansion, and is positioned for collaboration with a variety of existing ministries.
The Goals of the HFF Homelessness Focus Group are:
- Support in any way possible the the Courtney McGinnis Graham Community Shelter for the homeless and catastrophically indigent in our community. Support temporary accommodations as needed.
- Organize and promote the creation of a well-organized faith-based volunteer network to support homeless ministry in our community.
- Support the creation of an umbrella organization for indigent services in the Florence community.
- Support the creation of additional assets to assist problem “niche” areas of the local homeless population, in particular young teen boys who currently are often forced to separate from their families in shelters.
- Organize and support the creation of an effective and efficient transport ministry to assist the homeless and indigent in our community.
The Help Florence Flourish Homeless Focus Group studied the services that are already rendered to the homeless in and around Florence by a variety of agencies, looking at homeless ministry in other cities near and far for ideas and examples, and discussing ideas amongst the group regarding ministry in this area. This process led us to several observations and conclusions.
* Homeless ministry in Florence lacks the necessary capacity required to meet day-to-day emergency needs of the homeless. This is especially true during times of severe weather.
* Homeless ministry in the area could be more coordinated.
* There are many good agencies providing useful services, but some gaps remains. Among the most notable is suitable space and ministry for teenage boys, in the roughly 13-16 year-old range. This is an issue associated with a need to minister to families facing living space challenges.
* Homeless ministries suffer from inconveniently located service providers. This circumstance is exacerbated by a lack of transportation, or to put it another way, the inconvenient location of services creates additional transportation woes for a population that already struggles in this area.