Dear Neighbor,

When you picture a homeless person, what do you see?

While he may look like the stereotypical older bearded man living on the street, it’s more likely a woman sleeping on a friend’s couch, a young couple living in a tent, or a family staying in a shelter as they try to rebuild their lives. In my two years serving with the Mahaska County Homelessness Coalition, I’ve seen turmoil in a parent’s face as they struggle to provide for their family. I’ve seen the hopelessness in the eyes of someone who feels out of options to better their situation.

But I’ve also seen that there are people in our community who want to help.

MCHC’s mission is to bring resources, support and hope to people struggling with homelessness. We’re a group of volunteers who work to take calls and meet with clients who need help either getting a place to live or staying in their current home.

Our volunteers are there to help clients as they try to pull themselves out of a bad situation. It’s not easy, but it is worth it. It’s very satisfying to help a family get settled in permanent housing after months or even years of moving from place to place. While helping with a deposit to obtain permanent housing is our #1 goal, it doesn’t always happen. So many of the people we see are living on the streets without any income. Help for them might look like a few nights in a hotel room as we try to come up with a game plan. We can direct them towards local places that are hiring and connect them to other resources for food and clothing.

But however we’re able to serve them, we need your help to continue to do so. November 12-20 is National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. We’re reaching out to you to consider donating to MCHC. $20 would mean some Osky Bucks for a client to buy some food. $50 could get a family a night in a motel room. $200 would help someone move into their own apartment.

Please consider donating to this important cause.

With gratitude,

Jan LeBahn, MCHC President

Oskaloosa

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