Honestly, it’s been a tough year for Anawim.
We lost our home for the houseless, the RedBarn, which we have hosted meals, day shelters and overnight shelters at since 1995. The property has been sold to another local congregation and we pray that God would bless them with the property on which he blessed us for so many years. We also want to thank the Pacific NW Mennonite Conference who allowed us to have the RedBarn as our home for so many years, and remained patient through our difficulties and discussions with neighbors and city. And thanks especially to Amanda, Lisa and Larry who worked hard to transition us when Steve was out of commission.
We’ve still been hard at work, though.
-We continued to deliver three thousand pounds of food weekly to camps of houseless folks in East Multnomah County. We have a team of people delivering food, blankets, clothes and other supplies to those in need.
-Steve has a weekly Bible Study in Gresham located at East County Church of Christ. We are currently going teaching the Sermon on the Mount. If you would like to see some of the teaching, it is available at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOKnHsZhLIBdMxZ8kmhAuWg?view_as=subscriber
And now we are approaching our next project, beginning January 20.
Just as a quick note: this project isn’t to be made public until January 22, but we are so excited about it, we want to tell you now.
Anawim is in partnership with other houseless advocacy groups, Advocacy5, Right 2 Survive, Village Coalition and Boots on the Ground (all of whom we have been working with for more than two years) to begin a new, organized homeless camp!
Let me explain:
For decades, houseless folks would be forced to move about two or three times a year, when city officials asked police officers to give them warning and then force them to move. It was an annual tradition, usually in the fall and in the spring. Since 2016, however, both Gresham and Portland established offices to constantly move houseless folks all around the county. These offices have now hired private firms to do this work, for which they get paid all year round, even throughout the winter.
Some additional services have been provided, such as getting apartments and a couple hundred more shelter beds, but this is not much help compared to the need of thousands of people on the street. And with the constant “sweeps” of houseless folks throughout the county, live is more stressful and more difficult to go through the bureaucracy to obtain services or housing.
Anawim and the other advocacy groups will be providing an opportunity to change that. We want to establish a camp where houseless folk can live long term without being swept and we would provide assistance to obtain the services that are available, with the goal being that each person would leave the camp to their own housing and a life of hope.
We see this as participating in Jesus’ ministry of releasing people from oppression and providing healing. We will provide counselling for trauma, mediation for conflict and helping people fill out forms and keep appointments. This is the natural outgrowth of the work we did at the RedBarn. There, we provided a space for people to meet with agencies, to rest, to work, to get cleaned and to prepare for continuing their life. In this camp, we will provide safety and direction, helping people specifically meet their own goals of health and a better life.
We need your prayers to make this happen. And we need some help to establish the camp.
The camp will have platforms and heat and a kitchen and a community room. We need help establishing this model. If you would like to help, we could use finances. Or you could provide gift cards to Lowes, Fred Meyers, Home Depot, Safeway or Walmart. Please help if you are able. If you’d like to give to our PayPal account, go to this link: http://anawimcc.org/donate/
And please pray. This is exciting and some people are not interested in seeing houseless people helped in this way. We need God’s help to provide a place of Jesus’ peace and mercy. Thanks.