Collaborating to help our neighbors.
For well over 30 years Good Shepherd has operated the Household of Faith Fund (HOFF). This fund is used to help members of Good Shepherd and our community with emergency housing assistance when needed. The framework around how funds are granted and distributed has evolved over the years. But one thing has remained constant: an ever-growing need for assistance. The average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Madison or Verona today is over $1200. Solutions to the housing crisis in Madison are complex and the demand for assistance has become more than any one church or organization can accommodate. Most agencies have simply given up.
But there are ways we are making a difference through collaboration. In 2019, through the gift of a private donor, Good Shepherd participated in the formation of a new program called “Keeping Neighbors Connected (KNC).” KNC is a collaborative effort between the Meadowood office of Joining Forces for Families (JFF), St. Maria Goretti, Orchard Ridge UCC and our local elementary and middle school social workers. The goal of KNC is to pool the limited resources each agency has for housing assistance and collaborate with school social workers to identify families who through rental assistance will achieve long term stability.
One positive example of KNC’s impact is a single mother who has kids attending Falk Elementary. She broke her foot and was unable to work for several weeks at her hourly job. Financially, she stayed a oat during the rst month, after which she returned to work. But she was not going to make it through month two. With a small grant from KNC she was able to pay her rent and avoid eviction. Nearly a year later that family remains in a stable housing situation.
The average age of a person experiencing homelessness in Madison is 9 years old. KNC seeks to provide stability for children in our immediate neighborhood. It’s a small but important step we can accomplish together. Participation in KNC in 2020 will require a $2000 deposit from each of the three churches participating in the program. Good Shepherd would like to use $2000 each year from the HOFF each year to participate in KNC, all while ensuring at least a $500 reserve remains in the HOFF to ensure we can also help our members. Pastor Joe and Eric Alvin from JFF will be hosting an information session to discuss this request on January 12th, 2020 after each Sunday morning service at our Madison campus. If you have contributed to the HOFF in the past or are thinking of doing so in the future, you are invited to attend. There will be opportunities for your inputs, questions and concerns regarding this possible transition.