What would you do without a home, food, or resources? Many families are a single paycheck away from this scenario, and many have already crossed that path and are in dire days and desperate to find shelter and safety for themselves and their families. The families seeking help from Agape House live in cars, public parks, couches, garages, and floors. Sometimes, they can secure a single-night stay in an emergency shelter. These sleeping arrangements are transitional and unsafe and cannot in any way provide the security of an actual home or the multi-tiered support needed to break away from this homeless cycle.
Last year, over 160 calls were received at Agape House from people seeking assistance – seeking food, shelter, and the basic needs that no person, no child, should go without. We directed 90% of the families seeking help to other community services. The homeless crisis continues to grow across Arizona, with our state being the 5th in the nation for homelessness. In our state alone, we have seen a 23% increase in this population in the last two years.
Agape House has served more than 45 families since 2015, with 14 families this past year. We provide these families with long-term transitional housing coupled with discipleship, mentoring, and life skills. These families come to us broken, sometimes abandoned by life with nowhere to turn and come in many forms: single moms, single dads, or families. They come to us not only with true hunger in their bodies but with hunger in their hearts for a meaning to life and a path to escape the generational trauma that has formed their lives.
On average, we welcome about one family a month. It would be impossible to describe the emotional experience when we onboard them to their new apartment, located within our 9-apartment community. The tears flow for our new family and staff alike as a little child recognizes they have a bed to sleep on, and Mom is overwhelmed with emotion when she realizes her little ones will be able to take a hot bath. These are all things we take for granted – but they are perceived luxuries to the families. They do not take these comforts for granted and often struggle with believing that they deserve this new home.
Our volunteers and staff unite to provide support and resources to these families. As these families grow and learn new skills, we watch them build outstanding support teams within themselves. It is not easy; there is much work for them, but with their Agape Community’s love, respect, commitment, and compassion, success is very much possible.
With a success rate of 86%, families receiving long-term transitional housing from Agape House achieve success by attaining sustainable housing, employment, childcare/schooling for children, a healthy support system, transportation, and community resources.
As we continue to work with these families to provide for their needs, we look to the future with a post-graduate living facility, expanding the number of moms, dads, and children we assist and serve. We are seeking $330k to finish the final phase of the capital campaign for the nine-unit apartment complex, serving up to 16 families each year. Prayer, love, compassion, and hard work are critical components to the success and continued growth of our ‘Agapeville’ families, current and graduates. Funding from like-minded individuals and groups is the catalyst that keeps these wheels in motion.
Each one of us makes a difference. Phone calls often come into our office from a frantic mom in tears, living in her car with her child or children, begging for somewhere to sleep safely with her little ones, begging for help. How will we answer that need?
Your interest and funding support in Agape House is critical to our response to the cries for help. The agony of being unable to answer the plea is heart-wrenching, and the heaviness of the desperate calls does not go away.
The joy of offering HOPE through Agape House is an answer to prayer.