Where would you go if you found yourself homeless? The kinds of things that would contribute to your plight might be that you were fleeing an abusive relationship, you were hooked on drugs or alcohol, you had a mental illness, or you had a developmental or physical disability. Take a second to imagine the phone call you would make to a family member or friend you were asking to take you in off the streets. You would probably feel ashamed, wouldn’t you?
What are the kinds of things you would expect to hear? Would you be reminded of your past choices? Would you be told you were beyond hope? Would you be told you are getting what you deserve? You might even begin to believe these things, which would make matters worse.
In reality, homelessness is usually a combination of unfortunate circumstances and poor choices. But if no one gives you a helping hand, you will probably end up in a worse spot. So how do you break the cycle?
The Lighthouse is Whitley County’s only transitional housing facility for those who can’t get over life’s barriers on their own. The good thing about barriers is that they can be scaled over—with time and passionate assistance. So what are the barriers that often lead to homelessness:
- Mental Illness
- Drug/Alcohol Abuse
- Developmental or Physical Disability
- Domestic Violence
For those who have never had one of these four barriers invade their home, count yourself blessed! The truth is that these barriers affect everyone inside a home. Little children do not ask for an abusive dad. Teenage children do not ask to raise their siblings because mom is addicted to drugs. A wife does not ask for a husband who develops an undiagnosed mental illness. No one asks to be unable to work because of a physical disability. Yet these are real circumstances for too many families—even in our own community. So what do you do?
We roll up our sleeves and get busy providing tools and infusing confidence into those who don’t believe they can scale the barriers in their lives. That’s what The Lighthouse does every. single. day.
This past Sunday Shawn Ellis, Executive Director of the Lighthouse, shared with us about the work being done in our own community. This work is truly a calling from God, but for Shawn it’s just a way of giving back. Her story is one of redemption. She grew up with barriers in her family. Yet it was Christians in her life as a young person who showed her a different way. Now she has devoted her life to helping others scale the barriers and find healing and joy in their lives. Her passion is for The Church to help “loose the chains of injustice” (Isaiah 58:6) for the many children served who didn’t ask for their circumstances and the many adults who desperately want to see the other side of those barriers.
If you want to find out more about how you can help the shelter, call (260) 244-5266 or email Shawn at firstname.lastname@example.org. God is at work and you can be part of it!