Women in Free Fall: the missing safety net for homeless families

Posted by Union Gospel Mission Mar 20, 2014 10:53:00 AM

Part 2 in our series on "The Crisis: a troubling reality." Read part 1, Homeless Women: Who Will Belive in Them?

By Rich Schaus, Director of the UGM Crisis Shelter for Women & Children

It dawned on me one day – sitting on the couch in my living room, surrounded by my family – that if there were a disaster and all of this were taken from me, I had extended family and friends who would be a safety net. They would catch me if I fell. I suddenly felt very safe, held my kids tightly and was comfortable.

The troubling reality is that most of the women who come to the Crisis Shelter have no loving safety net to catch them.

Elizabeth and her kids at the shelter

Many of the young moms had a vision of a husband, home and a family, but it came crashing down. The man who promised a lifetime of commitment abandoned her. Without the God-given safety net of the family, where is she to turn?

She shows up at the Crisis Shelter with her children in tow. The Crisis Shelter becomes their surrogate family, provides them the love, safety, discipline and security of a family. If she accepts the love, her damaged heart can be healed. If she rejects the love of her new family, she may seek that love elsewhere.

The love that seems to be waiting for her just outside the gates of the Crisis Shelter sometimes comes in the form of drugs or alcohol, but more often it’s in an unhealthy relationship. Loneliness is the siren’s song that continues to destabilize and frustrate her.

Women leaving shelter gates

When that relationship has run its course, we often get the opportunity to serve her again -- to offer again the stable, unchanging love of Christ. Jesus offers the only relationship that can actually satisfy the ladies in the long term. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will not tire of her and abandon her the way other men have done. In Him there is hope.

Isaiah 41:10-13:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Little girl wrapped in blanket at shelterThe Crisis Shelter has been open a little over seven years, and already we are serving women who stayed here as children. They now have their own children who, unless we address the crisis, will be our guests when they become adults. 


How can we break this heartbreaking cycle? Hope is the answer. Stay tuned.

Learn more about The Crisis: a Troubling Reality at the UGM 2014 Annual Banquet.

The Crisis Shelter always needs Christian men and women who want to shower the love of Christ on our guests. Sound like something that might interest you? Click on the link below to start the process.

Click here to sign up for a volunteer orientation. >

Topics: homeless women and children


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