“It is how we live out our journeys and how we treat the people we meet that has the potential to transform our world,” said Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.
As we start our Advent journey towards Christmas, I think of new birth and a new season. In this season, we celebrate the darkest day and the return of the light as well. For me, I am thinking of hope. Hope for a new day, a new year, and a new life. In the past month, we were granted many gifts to put towards the work of housing families in our community, and we are grateful. Visionary funding, partners and long-time investors in Catholic Social Services have recently invested greatly in ending family homelessness. I think that focus on families is because of the potential that Cardinal Tagle speaks of above. As we all live out our journey, it’s how we do it and the people we meet along the way that allow us to transform our world. With the investments from the Day 1 Fund and ConocoPhillips and ongoing support of Providence Health & Services, we have the chance to change the world and the experience of an entire generation of children living in or near homelessness in our community today. We can do that by supporting their whole family to self-sufficiency and success. That is an opportunity on which we must capitalize, and together with you and our incredible service provider partners in Anchorage, we will.
This new support for work around family homelessness is possible because of your donations to support the basic shelter, incubate innovative new programs like rapid rehousing models, and your continued investment in building services to create social and emotional well-being for families. Our community here, who has been supporting the work of Catholic Social Services to help families for decades, has set up our community and families in need for big success now.
Let me tell you a story about how it can happen. This is the story of a dad and his kids. This dad loved his kids more than anything, and he would sacrifice everything for them. They fell upon challenging times, though – a lost job, a medical bill, a death in the family. Everything seemed to happen at the same time, and before they knew it, this single dad and his three kids under ten were sleeping in a church shelter every night. He turned it around, though. The dad got his family on the list for housing and support. They worked with their case manager in a rapid rehousing program. He focused on making sure his kids were connected with their school and supported at home. He’s still in housing today, working hard to build the life he wants for his children. Shelter services, rapid rehousing programs, housing case management, access to needed supports like SNAP and Medicaid, employment support, Child in Transition programs from ASD, and so many more services and programs supported this family. The outcome, a healthy and happy family, still together and permanently stable, is priceless.
To all families in homelessness this Christmas, in honor of our Holy Family, we pray for you and for hope. We will live out our prayer throughout the year ahead to support you in transitioning to permanent stability. We will do this together with our long-time donors and volunteers who have seen this vision since the day Catholic Social Services opened its doors. It is a vision of a community where children are safe and protected with their family in housing, surrounded by a community of support. Each of you are transforming the worlds of others in our community, and we thank you. Merry Christmas.