Working with the Homeless

We received an email update from Joy Waughtal who is serving on an ELCA mission team in Denver, CO.  Joy is the daughter of Julie Jensen and former Resurrection Pastor Steve Waughtal.  She is spending the year ministering to drug addicted and homeless people in inner city Denver and reports on a special project in which she was recently involved.

I wanted to send a quick e-mail sharing a little bit about a project I helped with last week!  I am still in Denver and absolutely loving it here.  Work is going great.  The homeless druggies are constantly teaching me to never know what to expect and that each day is an adventure.  I have started doing more at work including writing a monthly newsletter, (let me know if you want to receive it and I’ll add you to the list!) researching grant opportunities, and my new favorite, outreach!  Denver has a street outreach program where there are 18 street outreach workers who walk around Denver talking to homeless and getting them connected to services.  I have had the chance to go out with 2 of these workers for a day and had incredible experiences and found a new passion of helping some of the most vulnerable individuals.

This love of outreach came at the perfect time of the year.  This past week Denver hosted an organization called Common Ground who works to end homelessness by getting the most vulnerable individuals off the streets and into housing.  They do this by recruiting volunteers to go out and find out who is literally sleeping on the streets.  I was one of 50 volunteers who woke up at 3 am last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and walked the city of Denver from 3:30 to 6:30 interviewing anyone sleeping in doorways, under trees, and in alleys to find out their health history and history of homelessness.  While I was really tired all week it was completely worth it! I met some amazing individuals, drank a lot of coffee, and had some fun! Check out this news story a local news channel reported on it!

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