As we settle into the holiday season with our families and friends, I invite you to think of a time when your community was there for you. We’ve all experienced times when something went wrong—a car crash, an injury, a family member passing away, or a relationship ending. When these events are thrust upon us, we turn to our support systems for care. A group of people that love you and are willing to bring you meals, give you a hug, or simply show up when you need them not only get us through difficult times, but also give us a sense of belonging and community.
For those we serve, these support systems are often lacking, which is why it’s so important that our doors are open and welcoming. Having a shelter in place 365 days a year ensures that there’s a safe place for people to seek support and find a sense of community among their fellow guests.
“They hit my heart like family”
Marie, a 46 year-old woman, found her way to LCH this November when it became too cold for her to stay in the RV where she was living. With no heat or running water, she turned to the shelter for safety. Scared and apprehensive, Marie shared that she has been homeless since the age of 14 when she ran away from an abusive orphanage. She told our staff that she hated the holidays, as they reminded her of times lost with family.
Marie soon found a new sense of family with two other women residing at the shelter. The three women quickly bonded and can be found having deep conversations, giggling, watching tv together, and meditating. Come Thanksgiving, Marie was the first to volunteer to help our staff cook the Thanksgiving meal for both shelter guests and others experiencing homelessness. These new friendships, along with connection to a housing navigator who will help her along her journey toward stable housing, have given Marie a newfound sense of hope. In her own words, Marie says:
“When I came here, I was scared. Until I met the girls. They seemed to be pretty decent people and they grew on me like sisters. Each day, it got stronger to the point where we could laugh, giggle, and joke. They hit my heart like my family.”
You are part of the LCH Community. Thanks to you, we can wrap our love around those who need it, and help people like Marie find a sense of belonging and hope.
Give Today to Our 365 Campaign!
People need safe shelter 365 days a year. Today, there are 204 individuals experiencing homelessness in Lamoille County, and our small seasonal shelter isn’t enough. Currently, LCH operates as a seasonal shelter, open from November to April. But, a person’s need for a bed, a shower, and a warm meal does not change with the seasons. LCH wants to build a year-round shelter in Lamoille County with 20+ beds to provide support to people whenever they need it, 365 days a year.
Last year, we launched our two-year campaign to raise $365,000 for expanded operational costs. A year later, and we’ve raised $265,000. We’re only $100k away from our goal! At our new shelter, we will serve twice as many people and have our doors open twice as long, which means quadrupling our costs. This is why it’s so important for us to reach our campaign goal in order to launch into year-round operations by the fall of 2023.
LCH is working with Lamoille Housing Partnership (LHP) to identify and develop a site that will be suitable for our needs. Our partnership with LHP enables us to go into year-round operations with a reliable partner that will own the property and allow us to master-lease it from them for as long as there’s a need to shelter those without homes. We are exploring a site with a lot of potential and will tell you more about it once things are confirmed with the seller and the proper capital funding is secured.
With only 60 percent of our funding coming from state grants, we look to you, our neighbors and community members, to help us meet the needs of this vulnerable population for our future expanded capacity. Our organization and the people we serve depend on the generosity of our donors. Consider a donation today to help us reach our goal of providing shelter to those experiencing homelessness 365 days a year.
Thank you for your support, it means so much to us. For more information about our services, impact, and operations, visit our website at www.lamoilleshelter.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.