Homeless outreach intensifies efforts

by Jim Boyle
Great River Family Promise, formerly known as BASIC Outreach, is operating with a renewed sense of optimism.
Buoyed by the additional expertise and support from the national interfaith hospitality organization that it recently joined, the group has been making presentations to area churches. Its search has not been limited to Elk River and Otsego. It has included Rogers, Monticello and Big Lake.
It needs a commitment from 13 to launch its goal of an outreach ministry to homeless families in the area. It only has a commitment from five so far.
Participating churches in the area would take turns housing homeless families during the night and feeding them breakfast and supper through BASIC’s plan.
By aligning with Family Promise, the group will have to have a day center ready to go at the time of a launch, too.
While that makes the goal that much more challenging, it also provides a more complete picture to the churches who have been asked to consider partnering in the initiative.
There will be training and materials for churches that get involved as well as support from the national organization.
“We’re hoping to get this rolling in 2012,” said Sandy Breed, the treasurer of the group. “We’re hoping the first quarter of 2012.”
Great River Family Promise (GRFP) is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) and non-denominational organization for families in transition. There are over 5,000 congregations and 120,000 volunteers making up 163 networks.
According to 2009 figures, there were 79 children considered homeless in the Elk River Area School District.
“The image of homeless sitting under a bridge with a grocery cart is not what we’re dealing with,” Breed said. “It’s children and families that are homeless.”

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