We are praising God here at LEAP for the new beginning of Welcome Housing. Our first guests moved into the apartment on December 13th and seem to be comfortable in the space. This family had been in a hotel for three weeks (waiting for a first floor apartment for their disabled daughter), and they jokingly asked their case manager “why didn’t you put us here sooner?”. It is apparent that this family has found encouragement in the relationships made through Welcome Housing. They graciously invite new friends and our team into their space and share their lives with us. They are affirmed already that God has brought them to a community of peace and has purpose for them here. As we hoped, Welcome Housing has not only provided much financial relief for the resettlement transition, but also room to meet new people and see more of the community. We are still amazed at the difference made through this simple service.
Since October, four additional families have expressed a serious desire in hosting and using spaces on their personal properties for Welcome Housing. The space next in line to open has all the essentials except a kitchen. Amazingly we have volunteers knowledgeable in construction donate their time and skills to create a kitchen. The other spaces will require more extensive improvement before opening.
All this to say, in the near future we will be in need of additional construction volunteers willing to give their time/services/materials, along with some financial support to make these next Welcome Housing units operational.
As an organization we will be determining over the next year the benefits, effectiveness, and best application for Welcome Housing. Most of all we see this service as an avenue for hospitality and connection. New families will have a better first impression of the gem that is our community, and locals will be provided with a greater awareness and connection to our beautiful new community members who need to be embraced. These families have made a huge leap of faith for the sake of survival, and need support and encouragement in starting over.
This is just the beginning of Welcome Housing and only God knows the ends to which He will use it. The basis for Welcome Housing is God’s heart for hospitality; for welcoming the stranger. Jesus said this in Matthew 25: 35-36 and 40, “‘For I was hungry and you have me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me…. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the lease of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” In this posture we experience the love of God.