It begins with our host congregation?
About four times a year – for a week at a time – host congregations provide overnight lodging, meals (supper, breakfast and bag lunch) and hospitality. Hosting rotates among congregations, which provide lodging for three to five families (up to 14 individuals) from 6 pm to 7 am the next morning.
What is needed for a congregation to host?
Space for up to 5 families, 14 individuals, to stay for a week at a time, once every 3 months (or less). The space used can be classrooms, offices, or a large hall with dividers. During the week of hosting, the guests areas are not broken down during the day.
- A common area for meals, homework, relaxation and fellowship.
- Two bathrooms: one for women, one for men. (The day center provides showers.)
- Space for volunteers to sleepover (offices, hallway, etc)
- A kitchen for meal preparation, and a refrigerator.
- The congregation provides meals and bed linens. The network supplies the beds.
- A congregation should have at least 2 volunteers present while guests are there. Volunteers may come from other congregations or organizations.
Volunteers cook, serve meals, play with children, help with homework and stay overnight. They interact with guests, treating them with respect and responding with compassion.
Local agencies screen guests and refer families to the network. They may help guests find housing, jobs and government assistance. Guests are screened for active substance abuse and psychiatric problems.
Guests use the Day Center from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm to shower, care for pre-school children, do laundry and seek employment. Many guests are employed and go to work during the day. During the school year, children go to school from the Day Center. The Day Center provides guests with a mailing address and a home base from which to conduct their housing search.
A van transports guests to and from the day center. The van also carries beds and luggage to the next host congregation.