Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal - March 21, 2021
Oftentimes the word poverty invokes negative connotations that we would prefer not to talk or think about, even though poverty is alive and abundant among a significant population of our fellow citizens here in the Chippewa Valley. Mahatma Gandhi, who is referred to as the “father of India” stated that “poverty is the worst form of violence.” The effect of poverty results in a whole range of serious psychological and physical harms which include higher risks of disease, shortened life spans, stunted mental and emotional development, inadequate nutrition, food insecurity, negative effects on academic outcomes and the effects of poverty are most often felt by women. Plus, this topic is rarely discussed with any sense of the urgency that it deserves. The street ministry has been lobbying local governments and other entities that would have influence in this area prior to the pandemic and we certainly are not going to let up lobbying for our sisters and brothers that find themselves stuck in this particular crisis.
So perhaps we should ask ourselves, when we know this kind of violence exists and we do nothing to help prevent it, then are we complicit in the harm that results?
Mike - Street Pastor - Chippewa Valley Street Ministry
The number of changes that have occurred over the last year are almost too many to count: our ministry practice has been altered due to Covid-19, the local shelter has relocated, changes in accessibility to services and so on.
Two very positive changes have been the addition of a staff member working at the Sojourner shelter downtown and the director at the temporary location on Clairemont Avenue. Bob is a retired veteran and connects well with the people he works with. A homeless man we've recently written about that has lived without permanent shelter for many years has now been connected to basic benefits including Foodshare and insurance benefits. Many other people have completed applications for other services and are moving towards their goals. Additionally, the Sojourner House staff have gone through multiple changes at the shelter and the staff have done a fantastic job keeping the shelter running with the high-capacity of guests they've cared for during this pandemic. The shelter director deserves high praise for learning her role with the shelter moving from one location to another and adapting to changes as necessary. Welcome, Bob and Kiana, and great job!
The stimulus checks from the government are arriving in people's accounts. The financial boost is most welcome but for people who have been in poverty prior to the pandemic, these checks will only be temporary bridges to help support themselves; they will remain in poverty and continue to struggle and we are concerned about that. Will homes be lost? Will children or families need food or clothing or other basic needs? When the stimulus checks have been spent, then what?
Thank you, as always, for your support. We are grateful for you!
Karen - Social Worker/Nurse