Meet Sandy, a longtime Santa Cruz resident who is 62 years old, and who became unhoused when her mom was moved into senior housing. Sandy has been living in her car on and off for over 10 years. She adopted a female rescue dog named “Missing” as an emotional support animal and companion. The two of them have been enrolled in SafeSpaces for over three years. During the “Rapid Rehousing Wave” and pandemic, Sandy did not qualify for an emergency housing voucher. She has been on the Section 8 voucher waitlist for 10 years. Her ageing motor vehicle developed problems that were too costly to repair, and the AFC SafeSpaces host site embraced her as their own.
Earlier this month something unexpected and wonderful happened. At another AFC member church, during a Sunday service homily, the preacher mentioned all the different ways we can help those who are unhoused. One of the examples they gave was of someone donating their RV to an unhoused person. A woman from the congregation named Rose was listening in on Zoom. She said “Suddenly it was like a light bulb went off over my head!” She reached out to the preacher and said she had an RV she would like to donate. The preacher emailed me (Fr. Joseph) from SafeSpaces, inquiring if we could make use of such a gift. I said “You bet!” I immediately thought of Sandy.
The next day, in the rain, I was driving Sandy to meet Rose at her RV. I helped the two of them sign over the title from Rose to Sandy. This was such a lovely, grace filled moment. Sandy was speechless with tears of joy. “Now I can have my granddaughter over and we can color and do projects on this table, in my home! And Missing can lay
on the bed! And I have a stove, and refrigerator, and a heater!” Grace upon grace, indeed. Later Sandy said “My life could not be any better right now, I am so grateful to you and Rose. I have a major upgrade in my life because of
AFC and my family is super happy also.”
As you’re reading this, maybe you know of someone (possibly yourself!) who has a motor vehicle in good condition that they’re not using. You might consider giving someone in our programs a “major upgrade” in their life. Rose was relieved not to have to worry about the low-mileage RV she was no longer using, paying to store it. She said “I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.” And she made two new friends: Sandy and Missing.
Thank you, Rose!
Join us for dinner, drinks, and fun as we celebrate and support AFC's housing programs!
The evening will include:
For reservation information, please contact Judy Hutchison at email@example.com. Wondering what to wear? Have some fun – Dress up!
Keep an eye out for an invitation in the mail, or register at the link below.
AFC is joining the March to End Homelessness, organized by Housing Matters. AFC Board Member Jon Showalter took the time to share why the march is so important:
Housing Matters is leading a march on April 1st to bring awareness to those living with homelessness and demonstrate that many, many in our county support having the shelters, support and housing necessary to bring all our unhoused neighbors into a life with dignity as God intended.
All too often the debate is captured by those who repel in fear to the unsettling images of those that live outside in abject poverty, mental illness or addiction. In anger, they insist the failing is the victim's and the solution is to send them anywhere else on God's green earth than stay in the town most of them have called home for years.
The AFC is a sponsor of this march and would be most pleased if you would join us. This Saturday at 9:30 we gather at Calvary Church (please, don’t park at the church) and walk the block over to the march. Join us. Show that Santa Cruz cares about the least of us.
Attached is a link to more detail information about the march. A thousand people on the street does help change the political debate.
AFC Board Member
A benefit concert for The Association of Faith Communities (AFC), a local 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to alleviating human suffering.
The United Methodist Church of Santa Cruz is hosting a benefit concert for AFC - The Association of Faith Communities - in the First Annual Concert To End Homelessness. AFC are now in their 10th year as a local Santa Cruz nonprofit serving the unhoused, through their Faith Community Shelter program, SafeSpaces Parking program, and Shower Trailer program. Concert doors open at 6:30PM, show starts at 7:00PM and goes 'til 9:00PM, with one 20 minute intermission (with refreshments). Local musicians and singer-songwriters are donating their talents, featuring Jazz the Dog, Joe Chaplain, Madrigal & Strange, Colin Hannon, Nick Royal, Linc Russin + Special Guests! Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door. Mask optional. All donations including ticket purchases are 100% tax-deductible.