Presbyterians Today

AUG-SEP 2018

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28 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay as gravely disabled each year. They are the most difficult cases to move into housing. During the winter, the guests gain strength, heal and connect with housing providers. Now in its sixth year, The Refuge has become a model for how churches and agencies can partner to move people off the streets and into housing. When asked how the ministry works, Quigley said, "We love on them in the name of Jesus. We find that when you care for people well, we all share in the mutual blessing of healing." Walking alongside the homeless The ministry of The Refuge didn't happen overnight, however. First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood has been a light to the city for decades, beginning with the Lord's M ark lived on the streets of Hollywood, well known by social service providers as one of the toughest homeless cases in the city. He was often found standing on a street corner, looking disheveled, staring into space. His looks scared most people away Mark arrived at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood's winter shelter program, called The Refuge, after a desperate referral from a social service provider. He arrived with a blank expression on his face and was unable to speak. Through tears and a warm embrace, Amie Quigley, director of urban outreach at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, mumbled to him, "God loves you and we love you too." Mark was given a clean bed with a comforter and pillows in a quiet fellowship hall. Later, he sat down with several other guests to a warm meal served with love, laughter and kindness by church volunteers. "Our mission at The Refuge is to care for our most vulnerable friends," said Quigley. Over time, Mark not only moved into permanent supportive housing and became stabilized on medication, he took his first Communion and was baptized at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. He is now involved in church activities and helping others. In partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, permanent support- ive housing providers and the police department, The Refuge receives up to 25 homeless guests identified Churches tire of quick fixes and seek solutions BY HEIDI WORTHEN GAMBLE Churches tire of quick fixes and seek solutions BY HEIDI WORTHEN GAMBLE

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