...Jon Woodward is the Executive Director of Seven Hills Homeless Center & we asked him to share a few thoughts on homelessness in NW Arkansas & a few simple ways that our community can help.
A single woman falls off a ladder has to go on medical leave from her job.
A mother abandons her husband and children when he loses his job.
A waitress is down-sized.
A family's transportation fails and a job is lost.
A family cuts every expense that they can and still can't afford their rent and utilities.
A man finishes his 30-day program and has no place to call home.
A mom goes on medical leave as she struggles to find answers for her autistic son who needs to be seen twice a week in Little Rock.
There are many different ways people become homeless. A few that we helped this month are listed above.
How does this change?
Needs must be communicated to those who care and want to help. Time must be invested in mentoring relationships with individuals and families who need guidance. Resources must be devoted by our community in services that address the core issues of our homeless neighbors: affordable housing, accessible healthcare, and an improved transportation infrastructure.
The common thread in all of theses situations is that our systems don't know how to identify those who, if given help over a particular hurdle, will use the help to springboard toward independence.
Obviously there is no crystal ball to use, professional judgment and common sense can lead us toward making investments in individuals and families who really want to do better for themselves.
Meet immediate needs. Mentor a family. Use your influence to direct community resources toward core issues.
Jon Woodward, Seven Hills Homeless Center
We are so thankful for people like Jon who are standing in the gap and pouring untold amounts of energy to serve our community. We encourage everyone to spend a little time learning more about them and to find some practical ways to help.
Simple donations such as canned foods, coffee, blankets and gloves go a long way at Seven Hills. Of course, financial support is always beneficials. If you're in Fayetteville, spend a few minutes to drop by their day center and ask for a tour to learn more about their mission.