HOMELESS & Shades of Grace: New church with curious name discovers forgotten community

By Annette Spence, 5/25/15.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (May 25, 2015) — The Rev. Will Shewey was so determined to begin a storefront ministry for forgotten people that he was willing to resign as a United Methodist pastor to make it happen.

“Let me follow my dream. This is what I’m supposed to do,” Shewey told church officials for eight years.

In 2014, Shewey believed he could wait no longer. With support from Holston Conference, the award-winning pastor departed the congregation he had served for five years and immediately started a new church. He called it “Shades of Grace,” which made church leaders nervous because it resembled the name of a popular, provocative novel.

“This will be an inclusive church,” Shewey said. “None will be denied.”

Less than a year after the first worship service was held in the fellowship hall of Mafair United Methodist Church, Shades of Grace has its own location, offering a complex ministry for an inner-city community every day of the week. Average worship attendance is 160, with a high of 310 on Pentecost Sunday, May 24.

It’s not exactly what the founding pastor expected.

“I had no idea we would be so steeped in the homeless population. I did not know the extent of the problem,” Shewey says.

Located in a former flooring store in downtown Kingsport, Shades of Grace has a congregation that’s 50 to 60 percent homeless while serving an even larger group of low- or no-income people through meals, showers, addiction help, GED education, job assistance, prayer and friendship.

On the coldest and snowiest days of winter, Shades of Grace kept its doors open day and night, serving meals donated by congregations of various denominations to 160 people at a time and allowing the homeless to sleep on sofas, chairs or the floor.

“They’re completely different than any church I’ve ever seen,” said Grady White, a Kingsport Police Department officer who sometimes worships and eats with the congregation.

“They’re actually willing to get their hands dirty when they’re dealing with the homeless and other individuals that most people are not willing to work with,” he said. “And they’re right smack dab in the middle of where the homeless people are.”

Read more at … http://holston.org/about/communications/the-call/volE15/num10/shades-of-grace-2/

HOMELESSNESS & The Causes Of Homelessness #HomelessHub #SalvationArmy

Reproduced from: Stephen Gaetz, Jesse Donaldson, Tim Richter, & Tanya Gulliver (2013) The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013. Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.

People who are homeless are not a distinct and separate population. In fact the line between being homeless and not being homeless is quite fluid. In general, the pathways into and out of homelessness are neither linear nor uniform. Individuals and families who wind up homeless may not share much in common with each other, aside from the fact that they are extremely vulnerable, and lack adequate housing and income and the necessary supports to ensure they stay housed. The causes of homelessness reflect an intricate interplay between structural factors, systems failures and individual circumstances. Homelessness is usually the result of the cumulative impact of a number of factors, rather than a single cause.

Structural factors are economic and societal issues that affect opportunities and social environments for individuals. Key factors can include the lack of adequate income, access to affordable housing and health supports and/or the experience of discrimination. Shifts in the economy both nationally and locally can create challenges for people to earn an adequate income, pay for food and for housing…

Systems failures occur when other systems of care and support fail, requiring vulnerable people to turn to the homelessness sector, when other mainstream services could have prevented this need. Examples of systems failures include difficult transitions from child welfare, inadequate discharge planning for people leaving hospitals, corrections and mental health and addictions facilities and a lack of support for immigrants and refugees.

Individual and relational factors apply to the personal circumstances of a homeless person, and may include: traumatic events (e.g. house fire or job loss), personal crisis (e.g. family break-up or domestic violence), mental health and addictions challenges (including brain injury and fetal alcohol syndrome), which can be both a cause and consequence of homelessness and physical health problems or disabilities. Relational problems can include family violence and abuse, addictions, and mental health problems of other family members and extreme poverty.

Read more at … http://www.homelesshub.ca/about-homelessness/homelessness-101/causes-homelessness

FURTHER READING

Nowhere Else to Go: Inadequate Housing & Risk of Homelessness Among Families in Toronto’s Aging Rental Buildings

The Causes of Homelessness Among Older People in England

Homelessness – Causes & Effects (Volume 4): Background Report – a Profile and Policy Review of Homelessness in the Provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta

The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013

Pathways to youth homelessness

Aboriginal Youth Talk about Structural Determinants as the Causes of their Homelessness

Keeping the Homeless Housed: An exploratory study of determinants of Homelessness in the Toronto community

Causes of homelessness among older people in Melbourne, Australia

From Homeless to Home: learning from people who have been homeless in Ottawa

SOCIAL ADVANCEMENT & Housing The Homeless Saves Money–Here’s The Research That Proves It

Housing The Homeless Saves Money–Here’s The Research That Proves It
by Ben Schiller, Fast Company Magazine, 4/1/14.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel; “This article is based on research conducted at the University of Charleston which indicates that faith-based organizations who provide housing (Maslow level one) and job training (Maslow level 2) to the formerly homeless, saves the government money by making them self-sufficient and less reliant up on free governmental services. A link to the original research is included.”

Read more at … http://www.fastcoexist.com/3028384/housing-the-homeless-saves-money-heres-the-research-that-proves-i
t