• Lancaster Lofts – Open Studios for Creative People
  • Exterior – Front
  • Gorgeous northern exposure
  • Sleeping area
  • Loft Kitchen
  • Spacious bathroom
  • Loft interior
  • Open Studios for Creative People
  • Gated Access
  • Exterior – Rear

Being a Neighbor

Posted by Flora Alexandra No Commented Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Saturday in Unity Park has become an important opportunity for our neighbors on East Lancaster to relax and recreate in safety and for faith communities to fulfill their missions to reach out to those in need.  An equally important role played by Saturday is to educate faith communities in what really helps people who are homeless.  On Saturdays, faith communities learn that three meals a day are plentiful in the Near East Side.  Free clothing is available through all the shelters.  What is really needed is housing.  And not just housing, but housing with supportive services.  As our community considers how and where to create permanent supportive housing for persons in extreme poverty, I hope that our faith communities will understand that they have an extremely important role to play.  In permanent supported housing, formerly homeless people are provided with professional case management and access to services to meet their health and welfare needs and retain their housing.  Case managers are critical and I would never suggest that lay persons try to fill this role.  But what case managers cannot do is be a neighbor.  Case managers report one of the greatest challenges for newly housed persons is a sense of isolation and loss of the friends they made in the shelters or on the street.  Faith communities can fill this void.  Our new neighbors in permanent supported housing need someone to call when the toilet stops up and they don’t have a plunger, when they need a ride to the emergency room or the grocery store, or somebody to invite them to a show or get together for a supper and movie night or just chat about the neighborhood and current events.  Case management is demanding and difficult work.  People who have been homeless often have many complicated problems in their lives that would sink you or me.  Loneliness and boredom can be serious problems.  But in our faith communities, supported by professionals when needed, we can provide what the professionals cannot.  We can be neighbors.  And that can make all the difference in helping a person emerging from homelessness keep moving forward.