Mothers and their children who are homeless are among the most vulnerable people in our community. Their loneliness and despair stirs the desire of many to give these families a chance at a stable and secure life. But caring people often admit to feeling ill-equipped to reach out in helpful ways to those who are homeless, many of whom also struggle with problems of abuse, joblessness or addiction.
Bridge of Hope Centre County serves homeless single mothers. The agency’s message is that a lifelong difference can be made for these families by combining the efforts of volunteer, church-based mentoring groups with outcome-driven services provided by professional staff. Through a simple, planned ministry of friendship, congregations can be helped to reach those in their own community who are hurting.
Families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless are matched with a mentoring group composed of eight to 12 people from a congregation. These mentoring groups are the crucial component of Bridge of Hope and they offer meaningful relationships in the context of a community of support. The role of these groups is not to give unsolicited advice, but to offer friendship and nurturing acceptance.
Bridge of Hope’s professional staff provides an at-risk family with empowerment-based life-skills training and case management services, as well as temporary rental assistance on a decreasing basis. The Bridge of Hope staff members train the mentoring group to provide helpful, ongoing support to each family. Additional focus areas for Bridge of Hope’s staff members who are working with the at-risk families include career counseling, goal setting, empowerment-based counseling, life-skills training, budgeting and parenting.
Each woman develops a plan for working toward financial stability, which includes specific goals and action steps. This plan becomes an integral part of an individualized service agreement with the family and provides needed accountability.
Funded entirely through donations from individuals, congregations, businesses and local foundations, Bridge of Hope Centre County is a cost-effective approach to ending and preventing homelessness for single women and their children.
The genuine friendships that mentors extend to families in need empower the women to grow emotionally, spiritually and socially. The mentor component is what makes Bridge of Hope Centre County’s program different from other homeless programs, and contributes to the life-changing success the women achieve. Mentors truly make a difference.
If you, your congregation or civic organization would like more information about or would like to become involved with Bridge of Hope Centre County, contact our office at 237-HOPE.