The Road Home

“We envision a community that recognizes the inherent dignity of those who live in poverty and homelessness”

My brother was homeless a few different times in his life.  Our family will forever be grateful to the Road Home for helping keep him alive during a period in his life where we (his family) were trying out that whole “tough love” thing with an addict.

The Road Home saves lives.  And I’m not being dramatic.  It saved my brothers life on more than one occasion.  And though he may not have a lot of nice things to say about his experience there (which is understandable) I personally am thankful he had a warm place to stay when I was unable to provide him with one.  One of the hardest experiences of my life.

Whenever I go outside in Utah winters, I always think of homeless people.

Over the past 3 years, there has been a 300% increase in families needing help from the Road home.
Right now there are close to 1000 people being assisted by the Road Home.  And that’s just the people who go there to stay.  There are many homeless people who find other solutions.

(pulled this image off the Internet.  Not the Road Home, but gives you an idea)

I know there is a lot of judgement attached to a homeless person.  But the truth is, it could be any of us. If you didn’t have family to help you out, and you lost your job and couldn’t find another one (which is a reality), where would you go?  What would you do?

OR (and this seems to be the bigger issue) if there is a mental health issue and no insurance for treatment.  A HUGE problem in our society which I have witnessed first hand when trying to find resources for my brother.  Which often leads to self-medicating (thus the rampant problem of drugs and alcohol among homeless people).

 (image from the Internet)

There are a lot of good people at the homeless shelter.  There are a lot of KIDS at the homeless shelter. Victims of consequences that came from choices that weren’t their choices.

So when I have a chance to give, or donate, I always choose the Road Home.  And I’m hoping to be able to get more involved as a volunteer as my kids get older.

(image from Internet)

A few years ago, not long after my brother had stayed there, my family did a clothing drive for the Road Home in an effort to give back to them.

We posted something on Facebook to family and friends.  That was it.  My front room was overtaken by donations.

First we filled up a trailer.  We ended up needing to rent a UHaul to get all of the donations down to the Homeless shelter.

Every time I came home from errands, my porch would be filled with donations.  Turns out I know a lot of amazingly generous people!

The truth is, most people want to give.  And many of us have the resources to give.  We just need to know WHERE to give.

If you are interested in learning more about the Road Home, please visit their website.  There are a lot of great opportunities for giving.

**You can donate money.  It only takes $9 to shelter one person for one night.  You can do a one time donation (for any amount) or you can have money deducted monthly.

**You can donate “in-kind” things.  On the website, they list what the urgent needs currently are.  Right now this is the list:

Urgent Needs

  • Towels & Pillows
  • Coats & Jackets (all sizes)
  • Jeans & Warm clothing (all sizes)
  • Boots & Shoes (all sizes)
  • Socks (all sizes)
  • Underwear (new, all sizes)
  • Blankets (twin, full, & queen)
  • Diapers (sizes 3-5)
  • Baby Bottles & Formula
**You can also donate to help people who have been moved to the Palmer Court Apartments, a supportive housing development that helps formerly chronically homeless family’s or individuals.  They have different “kits” needed for the apartments.  You can find the list here or through the Road Home website.

There are also many opportunities to volunteer. 
You can find a list of ongoing opportunities here or group opportunities here.

When I was a youth, my church youth group used to drive to the homeless shelter once a year and pick up a bunch of kids.  We brought them back to our community pool and let them swim for a few hours, fed them dinner, and sent each kid home with a backpack full of school supplies.  Now that I’m an adult, I realize what a HUGE logistical task this would have been.  But it was an amazing, and VERY memorable experience for me as a youth.  So grateful for my leaders who organized that event.

It kills me that we live in a world where there a millions of people without a home.  I hope to be actively involved throughout my life in finding solutions to that unacceptable problem.

“To me, Jesus sounded like an ordinary guy who was utterly amazing. He helped people. He figured out what they really needed and tried to point them toward that. He healed people who were hurting. He spent time with the kinds of people most of us spend our lives avoiding. It didn’t seem to matter to Jesus who these people were because He was all about engagement.”  Bob Goff, Love Does

And because words mean little without action, here are some action steps each of us can take:

1.  Donate the excess things you have in your home and take them to the homeless shelter.  If you need some motivation to gather your things, I highly recommend reading “More or Less” or “Margin”.  
2.  Get a group together and do one of the group volunteer opportunities
3.  If your kids are older, consider volunteering AT the Road Home
4.  If you are able to provide food, consider doing a dinner at the Road Home (details on their website)
5.  Donate money to help shelter an individual or family at the Road Home
6.  Do a clothing drive in your neighborhood to take to the Road Home.  This was AWESOME for our kids to be a part of.  They brought in the things from the porch, helped load the trailer, and went with us to drop it off at the Road Home.  Plus we spent a LOT of time during the week we did the drive to discuss homelessness and the importance of taking care of each other.

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