RECLAIMING HOPE | Hope is the starting point for Urban Homeworks, the force that brings together low-income families, young professionals, job skill trainees, and volunteers from all walks of life into an exchange that restores homes and creates a space for neighbors to engage.
In our community, fireworks are loaded, figuratively. Every single time one goes off, we wonder whether the loud crack represents patriotic celebration, kids in awe and ready for an excuse to shriek and laugh… or whether we should anticipate the sound of helicopters - news and police personnel - hovering over a crime scene, ready to cover the next breaking story.
So when Gail walked in to our office and I asked her whether she was celebrating the 4th of July, it was about so much more than fireworks, and she knew what I was talking about.
But she surprised me. Gail wasn’t concerned about what type of noises were taking place, when or why they sounded. She said to me, “Honey, four months ago my family and I were homeless. I don’t care WHAT blasts I’m hearing from inside my house.”
Her need was more basic. Her options have always been inequitably limited. She was happy to have a roof. To have walls. “Betterness” for her meant that she. was. inside.
I had lunch duty at the receptionist desk two weeks later and, out of the clear blue, I saw Gail again. She wasn’t alone this time– her son, daughter-in-law and 4-year-old granddaughter were with her. She was signing her lease. And, Friends, her adult children were with her asking for information about homeownership.
We ARE doing better.
As of this month, Gail and her family will have a chance to live into a broader array of options. And, while Gail is here, the sounds we hear will more likely be echoes of laughter and security. And the sounds we hope to associate with celebration will less likely be compromised by the reverberations of a violent culture too many of us have played a part in creating.
First, though, let’s just make sure that every family has the privilege of four walls and a roof. Because, right now, for Gail, that’s more than enough.
Gail is thrilled about her new home. It has way more than four walls and a roof. Our volunteers, trainees, contractors and subs work meticulously to make sure our homes are ones THEY would be proud to live in. This is redemptive redevelopment - where families stay 3 times longer on average and have that much more opportunity to build a foundation for their futures.