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Bridge Communities Turns 20!

October 17, 2008

This week Bridge Communities celebrates its 20th Anniversary. In September of 1988 Mark Milligan and Bob Wahlgren volunteered to help out at PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter). “I was struck by how many children were there that evening, the real innocent victims of homelessness are the kids,” Mark told us. He went home wondering what he might be able to do to just make a difference for one of those families. Later that month, Mark and Bob shared with a small group of friends the idea they had to help homeless families transition from despair to hope and rebuild for their future. Their friends joined in their effort and donated funds to help sustain an apartment for three months. The following month “The Apartment Project” was founded through First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn which provided mission funding to help house and mentor one homeless family-providing them with the break they need to get back on their feet. Since then, there have been many milestones:

Ø September of 1994 – the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards $627,000 to Bridge to build an 8–unit apartment building

Ø January of 1996 – Bridge was serving nearly 15 families annually in cooperation with Catholic Charities and several church affiliations

Ø September of 1996 – Bridge hires an executive director, case managers and other staff members and moves into permanent office space

Ø December 1997 – 40 families enrolled in the program

Ø Fall 2004 – Bridge’s first SOS – Sleep Out Saturday where nearly 500 DuPage County residents experience homelessness for one night

Ø December 2005 – 70 families served annually

Ø January 2008 – Bridge partners with nearly 400 volunteers who serve as mentors, learning resource “teachers” and professional tutors.

Ø October 2008 – Bridge celebrates 20 years of helping over 1800 people who were homeless get back on their feet again.

This past year alone, there were 1004 phone calls to Bridge from families in a housing crisis and Bridge was able to provide 71,000 nights of shelter. Bridge now has 74 apartments in the transitional housing program located in DuPage County.

20th Anniversary Challenge: Blog us back and tell us 20 words that describe homelessness to you. The best entry will win a prize at the Sleep Out Saturday Rally on November 1st!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 27, 2008 6:26 pm

    20 words to best describe SOS:ScaryColdHotUncormfortableRoughSadTiringLonelyHeartwrenchingTroublingEmbarassingStressfulToughChallengingAwkwardUnstableWorrisomeGutwrenchingDifficultEmotionalSubmitted by Thomas LTWC

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