As SHIP roles into 2014 the Program will be closing in on our 20th year of service to our community. SHIP started operating independently under the non-profit umbrella of American Family Housing in December of 1994. Some of our host churches and volunteers have been involved even longer, back to the late 1980’s when we were part of Orange County’s Homeless Issues Taskforce Interfaith Shelter Network. Since SHIP has existed, 631 homeless and unemployed single adults have been provided shelter, counseling, and job search, and savings assistance.
We had a total of 34 guests enter SHIP in 2013. Carla, David, Tracy, and Zachary all graduated and we enjoyed wonderful celebrations in their honors. Many of our guests come into the program, find work, save a couple paychecks, find a place to rent and move on before they officially graduate. These folks are also huge success stories. Joseph, Donna, Suzzann, Matt, Brad, Loni, Casey, Gerrit, Hank, Chad, Jane, Arthur, and Steve all found employment while in SHIP were allowed to save dollars while in SHIP enabling them to move on positively in their lives.
We saw a gentleman after several years in prison, eager to gain employment, who missing several front teeth, get his teeth while in SHIP graciously provided through one of our congregations. We encouraged and counseled one of our guests through a scary prostate cancer diagnosis and surgery. We saw a couple of young men; raised in foster care, do quite well in SHIP. With all the love, guidance, and opportunity provided from SHIP it’s always awesome to see our guests exhibit such sacrifice, drive and determination in moving forward with their lives. Sometimes all it takes is an opportunity. SHIP provides that opportunity.
The Our Redeemer House remains the critical central hub of the Program. Seven SHIP host churches provided 23 weeks of stay for our guests at the “SHIP” house in 2013. These churches include:
· Garden Grove Friends Church
· Radiant Church,
· St. Olaf’s,
· Sts. Simon & Jude,
· Shepherd of the Hills Rancho Santa Margarita,
· Holy Spirit of Fountain Valley,
· St. Anne’s of Seal Beach
· Our Redeemer
Much work and improvement was put into the House in 2013. As we continue to rely heavily on donations, an accumulation of supplies ranging from beds, portable shower, towels, bedding, hygiene items, clothes, shoes, and various other items have proven essential to have on hand to get our guests started on a path to success. Having such supplies on hand can really help keep the program costs down. A new metal storage shed was purchased and built to provide much needed additional storage for SHIP, Robert, and Howard. The old and dangerous garage door was replaced with a brand new safer roll-up door. Many hours were put into “remodeling” the garage. Additional shelves and clothes racks were installed and painted. The garage is ready to start filling it’s shelves.
In addition to the 8 churches hosting the program at the House, 9 churches provided the remaining 29 weeks of 2013 of support at their facilities. These churches include:
· St. Bonaventure
· St. Wilfrid’s
· Fountain Valley United Methodist
· Grace Lutheran
· St. Hedwig’s
· Good Shepherd
· Garden Grove United Methodist
· Community United Methodist of HB
SHIP continues to provide help to our community’s homeless and unemployed population. In this challenging job market and economy people need our Lord’s guidance and love as much now as ever before.