A unique homeless shelter and rehabilitative facility in Granite City has been doing great work for 18 years, and now needs our HELP if it is to keep its doors open.
The Good Samaritan House opened in 1998 with support of the local Ministerial Alliance, who recognized the need for a homeless shelter addressing the needs of single mothers and their children. Many shelters cannot house families together, and others provide only a brief stay, without offering the kind of help that can break the cycle of chronic & recurrent homelessness: job training and placement, budgeting help, and training in parenting and self-care.
Good Samaritan provides a maximum of 90 days of housing, during which the residents must meet with counsellors and social workers & demonstrate evidence that they are working toward goals that will enable them to maintain a stable housing situation when they leave. The shelter has capacity to house ten families at a time, providing kitchen and laundry facilities and shared bathrooms. Along with staff and volunteers at the shelter, the mothers work together to plan their meals, learning budgeting and nutrition, and establishing consistent schedules and stable routines for their children. Partnering with WorkForce of Granite City, Good Samaritan also provides job training and temp placement for residents, offering them a first step on the road to steady employment and financial independence.
Janice Donaldson, Executive Director at Good Samaritan, has witnessed many success stories, as mothers gain the skills and confidence that enable them to move toward a brighter future for their families. “Everybody needs a cheerleader,” says Ms. Donaldson, and Good Samaritan is providing a conduit for our community to support a coordinated effort that is yielding great results!
WHY aren’t there more shelters in our area offering such a comprehensive approach to this complex problem? The simple answer is: MONEY, (or rather, the lack therof). Many government and private initiatives to address homelessness suffer from inadequate funding, and are therefore only able to provide a “band-aid” approach to homelessness, offering brief temporary shelter or one-time assistance with a rent or utilities bill. Such “solutions” are well-intended but may paradoxically serve to perpetuate poverty and housing insecurity. Good Samaritan has pursued a goal of lifting families out or the cycle of poverty and homelessness, which requires commitment, coordination, and yes, MONEY.
But now this wonderful, visionary ministry needs OUR help! Good Samaritan began with private funding from area churches. Over the years several churches and civic organizations have provided labor and in-kind donations, as well as funding, to maintain the shelter’s physical facility and programming. To maintain a stable income for its operating budget, the shelter has also obtained grant money from HUD, IL Dept. of Human Services, and other sources. Now, with the recent IL budget crisis, and the unexpected loss of a large HUD grant(which accounted for 40% of the shelter’s operating expenses), the continued existence of the Good Samaritan house is at risk. The shelter recently launched a “Save the Samaritan” fund drive, with a goal of raising $100,000 by the end of August, in order to keep its doors open while investigating ways to cut expenses and establish new sources of revenue.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
- Visit goodsamaritanhouse.org to learn more about the great work being done, and the help that is still needed.
- Pray for homeless families, and seek God’s guidance in how He wants you to get involved.
- Talk to others at your church or community organization about whether you can commit to funding the ongoing operations of Good Samaritan House.
- Join us for a fundraiser at Restore Décor on July 30, when our net proceeds will be donated to Good Samaritan House. TOGETHER WE CAN KEEP THIS GREAT WORK GOING, helping families to become part of a thriving, loving community.
Matthew 25:40 Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.