Single Men with Children Shelter Turns 5!
"I was on the Board when the idea of opening a single men with children shelter was first brought up. And, I'll admit, I thought it sounded pretty crazy at the time", reflects The Gospel Mission Executive Director, Pastor Paul Mahaffie. "But, I will be the first to admit I was wrong."
For the past several decades, the demographics of a homeless family almost always consisted of a mother and her children. However, we are seeing that begin to change. It is becoming increasingly common to see a single dad with sole custody of his kids, for a variety of reasons. So, in 2016 The Gospel Mission looked to the future and constructed our Single Men with Children Shelter, knowing there would be a need for it.
Over the past 5 years, we've seen more than 15 dads and their kids go through our program. Unlike our other shelters, the single men with children program is typically structured to last about 6 months and designed around the concept of helping the men become Christian Fathers. They are required to enroll children in daycare or school, depending on their age, and they hit the ground running with things like parenting classes and coaching, mentorship, life skills, and chapel services. Dads are encouraged to find a job if they are not already employed, and our staff also assist them in dealing with social services matters.
"Seeing these fathers come into our care to work for a better life for their children is really amazing," remarks Pastor Tim Hall, Chaplain and Director of the Single Men with Children Shelter. "Getting work with them and see the Christ-like love of a parent and child is such a blessing. It's an honor to be able to make a difference for them".
Ultimately, we work to help them prepare to have their own loving home for their children. Our goal is that they leave our care with a foundation of faith and the skills and ability to continue to grow in their parental role.
We are so thankful for the donors who helped build this shelter from the ground up, and for all of our generous partners who continue to support it! We couldn't do what we do without you!