What does it take to break the cycle of homelessness? Can churches that are stretching to provide homeless shelters and soup kitchens do anything to pull people into self-sufficiency? Some answers are emerging from DuPage County in Illinois, where a few people who would not tolerate homelessness combined their fervor with business experience and asked a church community for support.
In upscale DuPage, the gap between the homeless and the housed is especially wide. In Glen Ellyn the average household income is $51,916. The average home costs $209,000, and a two-bedroom apartment rents at $550 and up. Once a family loses its house or rental lease, it joins an army of homeless who wander from one shelter to another or sleep in cars. A parent may hold a job and “come home” to a crowded sedan. The kids attend school, covering up the fact of their homelessness as long as they can, then disappearing when the revelation shames them.
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