GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Ecumenical Parthershp for Housing says more than 80 percent of the people they help, have only known a life of poverty.
The group is dedicated to finding a permanent solution for homeless families in Green Bay. They are marking 25 years of helping people transition to self sufficiency.
“The case managers sit down with families and the first thing they do is develop a plan… working on budget counseling, getting their credit scores back to where they need to be. They could be working on employment or better employability, an education plan” explains EPH Executive Director, David Pietenpol.
Families served by EPH move into one of the homes owned by the volunteer based organization. “They come and stay with us anywhere from six months to potentially two years while working on some of the basic skills” Pietenpol explains.
There is no rent to pay. According to Pietenpol “Providing that safety and stability gives them the chance to focus on goals”.
EPH partners with the Salvation Army and 21 area churches, from several different denominations. They do not talk about theological differences, focused on the desire to help homeless families.
Pietenpol explains “The churches help with the maintenance, and preparing a home for families. They also play a very significant role in funding for operational needs as well as the prayers that they offer for the families that we serve”.
When families move in they receive pantry staples, a hot meal and comforters to keep. “You will notice we do have a pretty nice home” Pietenpol says with pride. “We believe people respond to our environment. We take care and pride in showing families what self sufficiency can”.
EPH has served more than 500 families in the last 25 years. They are working to stop the stigma that homeless people are lazy and unemployed. “We find a number of families who are working full time but if you are a single parent with three or four kids working full time at a service job that is very difficult to afford housing, transportation, food, childcare” Pietenpol says.
The Ecumenical Parthershp for Housing offers safety, stability and solutions, leading to a life of independence for hundreds of families. “This family wrote back to say just to let you know i am working two jobs, am self sufficient, own my own trailer. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you”.
Find out more about the group here: http://www.ephgb.org/