Support Circles are small groups of parishioners who create a network of love and support for families in transition from homelessness. This ministry allows parishioners to develop a relationship with a homeless family over a long period of time, with the goal of supporting them while they’re in crisis, helping with needed resources and skills, and empowering them to move toward greater financial security.
The Support Circle program is run by Catholic Charities, which screens families who are unhoused and connects them with local congregations. Once housing is found, the parish provides a portion of the family’s rent each month for one year to help the family stabilize financially. Each family’s situation is different, and teams respond flexibly to the needs and priorities of the family.
The most important work of the team is to develop relationships with the family and empower them to achieve their goals. We walk with the family rather than doing for them. In general, Support Circle teams work with families on issues such as the following:
- Securing permanent housing;
- Improving their ability to earn more through job skills training;
- Learning budgeting and how to manage household finances;
- Mentoring children;
- Addressing child care and transportation issues;
- Improving access to needed health and social services;
- Providing support that fosters the family’s strengths;
- Offering emotional and spiritual support.
Contact: Thomas and Janine Costello, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Time Commitment: One year. Includes regular contacts with family and monthly ministry meetings
- Gifts: Listening, working with people, mentoring, patience, persistence, willingness to help find community support.