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The end may be in sight

September 25, 2006

Is it possible to eliminate homelessness? The DuPage Homeless Continuum of Care thinks it is.
They have a plan to end homelessness in DuPage by 2010.

Bridge Communities (the organization that sponsors Sleep Out Saturday) is hoping to play a major role in helping the Continuum to reach this goal. Last year, Bridge provided 65,000 shelter nights to homeless families (One shelter night is housing for one person for one night). But it’s not just a roof–Bridge prides itself on being a 2 year transitional housing program. So in addition to providing housing, Bridge offers clients a variety of supportive services. Each family meets weekly with a team of trained mentors who help clients with budgeting and other issues. Bridge also offers tutoring (for children and adults), job training, employment counseling, and case management services. The goal is for clients to reach self-sufficiency by the end of the 2 years.

Bridge partners with dozens of local churches and community groups who are seeking to help homeless families. Through the Continuum, Bridge also partners with organizations all around the county—including PADS, Catholic Charities, the Community Housing Association of DuPage, DuPage Habitat for Humanity, Outreach Community Ministries, and Family Shelter Service (and countless more! Check out the list on the Contiuum’s website to see them all) in an effort to end homelessness.

The task may seem daunting, but recent history offers hope. On Easter morning 2000, The Sumter County Initiative (Sumter County, GA) announced that it had provided housing for every resident in the county. Substandard housing was eliminated and in its place, affordable, decent housing was available to every single individual or family in need. This accomplishment can’t be credited to a lone group—it was achieved through the partnership of nonprofit groups, government agencies, and local corporate, churches, and individual sponsors. Looks like DuPage County is on the right track.

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