Our model is: Yes, you need a place to stay, but what really has happened in your life that led you to our door?
We are very much like a family. The staff eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner with our guests. We get to know them on a personal level. We’re also unique in terms of programming for the client. Every client is working on their own thing. We don’t have a set program structure, because we’re all different. Different things have brought each individual to our door.
We work with people with addictions. We work really closely with Oaklawn Psychiatric Center and the PATH team. Sometimes clients need mental health services. We just partnered with Harvest Community Church, and we’re going to be doing Jobs For Life training. They get financial management. We do parenting classes. We work on their whole being, not just the homelessness issue.
We are a homeless shelter for anyone with minor-aged children, as well as single women. We serve an average of 113 individuals or families a year. Our 25th anniversary is this October. In November 2017, we established a fixed site. Our clients stay in one spot all the time, which is at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. We’re on the second floor there.
I was quarantined at St. Mark’s for over 51 days. It was tough, but it was eye-opening, actually. I learned a lot of things that needed to change, but also a lot of good. I realized what our guests go through, all the noises in the church, even how hard the bathroom door shut. It was a very big learning experience.
I wasn’t going home to my girls. The clients saw a different side of me and got to know me a lot better. There’s no way around that when you’re truly living with someone.
What makes Goshen stand out is the love and support – the way this community continuously steps up. The amount of people who brought us stuff when we were in quarantine. Even now, volunteers are bringing us casseroles. We are being blessed with casseroles.
It’s very heartwarming, and it makes me enjoy my job to watch so many people in the community embrace our guests, too, and want to help them on their journey.