Special Home Will Help Women in Transition

Post a Comment » Written on November 27th, 2009     
Filed under: News
By Rick Lund

TACOMA, WA (November 27, 2009) – Every night, an estimated 750,000 people experience homelessness in the United States.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has walked the streets of the nation’s largest cities. What isn’t as obvious is that the fastest-growing homeless group is single women.

Praise Covenant Church in Tacoma, Washington, noticed. They also decided to act.

The church will open a home for women who are either homeless or face the prospect of homelessness. The home, which will house five women and a resident manager, promises to be a safe haven for women who are transitioning from prison, drug or alcohol abuse, partner abuse or just plain poverty.

“Our vision is to provide a safe housing environment in which women have the opportunity to experience transformation by obtaining spiritual, emotional and relational health, and to gain the skills to live a productive and secure life,” says Wayne Smith, pastor of Praise Covenant’s Harvard campus.

The impetus for this transitional housing ministry came from hearts of members of what used to be two separate Tacoma Covenant churches, and some real estate owned by one of the churches. In June 2008, Harvard Covenant, in east Tacoma, and Praise Covenant, about 12 miles away in south Tacoma, merged to form one church with two campuses. Praise’s Pastor Greg Chantler serves as senior pastor of the combined church.

“Pastor Greg has had a dream and vision for many years to assist women whose lives are going through some degree of crisis or instability by having housing with support and mentoring,” said Smith.

Meanwhile, a portion of the Harvard campus included four single-family houses adjacent to the church property that were acquired over the years. Volunteers from Praise have been renovating a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home, with the hope of having its first residents in January.

Renovations were aided by a $10,000 Compassion and Justice Grant from the Evangelical Covenant Church and the North Pacific Conference. If the ministry’s first home goes well, Smith says the house next door will be renovated for additional residents.

Praise is partnering with a ministry called “Father’s House” led by Jo Wenger of Tacoma Foursquare Church. The bulk of the support, though, comes from members of Praise Covenant. “Once we have residents,” said Smith, “we will have opportunities for people to be involved in mentoring and befriending our residents.

“It is an exciting adventure. And God is in it.”

Editor’s note: Rick Lund is news editor for the North Pacific Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

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