Providing Hope through Housing
LCMS Recognized Service Organization Humanitri assists homeless families in St. Louis.
Rosalind Durham-Gore walked into the Humanitri office in North St. Louis in desperation. But after telling her story to the staff, she left with hope. “I was relieved that I could go back to my children and say, ‘God is working it out. We just have to be patient and continue to trust Him,’” she said.
That was more than a year ago. At the time, her apartment had failed yet another Section 8 inspection, and she needed to move out within two weeks. When she couldn’t find a suitable place for her three children, they ended up living in a hotel.
Durham-Gore is one of about 1,050 families facing homelessness in the St. Louis area at any given time. She’s thankful for finding Humanitri, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization that helps stabilize homeless families by providing transformational housing, education, employment and counseling services as they show the love and compassion of Christ.
On July 31, Humanitri celebrated the renovation of four units in South St. Louis with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and house blessing. Each of the totally refurbished units has four bedrooms, making them perfect for large families in need of housing assistance.
“God is working it out. We just have to be patient and continue to trust Him.”Rosalind Durham-Gore
“These properties will provide a safe haven for families that typically are turned away by other agencies for lack of available housing that will fit their needs,” said Humanitri Executive Director Deaconess Kim Schave, noting that large families are often the hardest to place.
The units have a long history in the Synod. Holy Cross Lutheran Church, located next door, once owned the building and used it to house LCMS missionary families who were on furlough. Schave is pleased to have an LCMS church so close by. “In addition to the mercy care that Humanitri is providing, we have opportunities to ensure that the spiritual needs of our families are addressed in a holistic manner,” she said.
The $650,000 rehab was made possible by partnerships with Lutheran Housing Support and PNC Bank. Over the last few years, Humanitri also has received several small grants from the LCMS, as well as many hours of volunteer service from LCMS International Center employees who have assisted with landscaping and home maintenance projects.
In August, after living in another Humanitri property, Durham-Gore and her children became the newest residents of one of the renovated units.
During the past year, Humanitri staff have helped Durham-Gore find a job and learn how to budget so that she can pay her own bills and save for the future. She has even started thinking about the steps she needs to take to own her own home one day.
“Humanitri has helped me to be self-sufficient. I’m not on any [government] assistance anymore,” she said. “It feels good. I’m able to save. I’m able to budget. I’m able to say no, we can’t do this now because we are looking forward to the future.”
Megan K. Mertz
Managing editor of Lutherans Engage the World and chief copy editor for LCMS Communications.