Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Faith, Hope and Housing - Exploring Relational Ways to Empower Our Neighbors

On Thursday night, January 14, 2016, MDHA co-sponsored Faith, Hope and Housing, with and at First United Methodist Church Dallas. The idea behind this gathering was to facilitate churches and church members exploring relational ways to empower our neighbors, who are experiencing homelessness. The evening, organized by Rebecca Cox, MDHA’s Vice President, attracted a crowd of about eighty professional and lay church leaders, as well as congregants. The evening began with warm words of welcome from Dr. Andrew Stoker, Senior Pastor, of First United Methodist Church Dallas, and a beautiful prayer led by Rev. Jonathan Grace, of CitySquare. 
Rev. Jonathan Grace
Rev. Jonathan Grace
Rebecca introduced the idea of Room in the Inn, a church winter cold weather shelter program that began in Nashville and now exists in more than twenty communities. MDHA hopes to introduce this program in churches in Dallas. She then moderated a panel of leaders from Fort Worth, where the program has been up and running for a few years now. Panel members included, Reverends Dottie Cook, South Hills Christian Church, Dan Freemyer, Broadway Baptist Church, Page Hines of First United Methodist Church Fort Worth, and the leader of DRC – Community Solutions to End Homelessness, Kristy Hroch. They talked about how the program helped the homeless in Fort Worth, what a blessing it has been for the churches involved, and how it has inspired their members. They also took questions from the assembled.
Rebecca Cox
Our good friend, Keith Ackerman, Executive Director of CitySquare’s The Cottages at Hickory Crossing spoke about their needs for household items for the future residents of that permanent supportive housing project. Those who wish to help can go to the Target Gift Registry, and using first name: CitySquare and last name: Cottages, choose items to donate. Rebecca Cox spoke about how churches can help create “Welcome Home” kits to facilitate smooth move-in for residents of other housing programs for those experiencing homelessness.  She also distributed this flyer for other immediate needs churches and church members can help our partners fill. Wayne Walker, of Our Calling, spoke about their new app for documenting encampments, and how people use the app and help them with that effort. Finally, Cindy Crain, President and CEO of MDHA, spoke about the need for volunteers with the Homeless Count. 
With that, Rebecca adjourned this very successful communal gathering. We will keep you posted on the Room in the Inn program, here in Dallas. If you would like to find out more about how your house of worship can participate, please contact Rebecca at

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