Bridgework

Undoing Homelessness

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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