The fifth-oldest homeless rescue mission in the country is on a mission to reconcile homeless and hurting people to God, families and the community in Louisville.
Re:Center Ministries has been around since 1881. Founded by murderer-turned-believer Steven Holcombe, the organization offers two separate programs, one for men and the other for women, to help Louisville’s homeless population. These programs strive to make high-impact, long-term changes in people’s lives through the gospel.
The women’s program is an emergency drop-in shelter open during the day. Alexa Graham, the Director of Community Relations at Re:Center, said there is a shortage of women’s shelters in Louisville. At Re:Center, though, women and young children benefit from a safe place to rest, do laundry, meet their hygienic needs, store luggage and receive mail.
The women’s shelter closes at 6:30pm, but the night is just beginning for volunteers at Re:Center.
The men’s program is called Life Change. Men experiencing homelessness can reserve beds for 45 days, sleeping dormitory-style where they are free from the dangers of a night on the streets from 7:30pm to 6:30am. This part of the men’s program is called Stability. They must be consistent: if a man misses a night, he must wait 30 days to reserve another bed.
If a man experiencing homelessness is ready to take the next step, he may then enter phase two of the men’s program: Recovery. During this 40-day holistic program, men live at Re:Center and take the necessary steps to getting off the streets for good. According to Alexa, they “rebuild their voice and influence.”
Up to 21 men can be in Recovery at a time. Their days are filled from 6:30am to 10pm with life skills classes, work, appointments, counseling, Bible study, chores, meals and chapel. The men have access to an exercise center, computer lab, TV lounge and other amenities.
The men in Recovery work at Thrift ‘n’ Thrive, a thrift store in Louisville. They earn income, receive occupation training and benefit from the routine of work.
Once they complete Recovery, men can move into Transition. This phase is a yearlong commitment. Men live in their own efficiency apartments on site with a kitchenette, bed and restroom. They continue to have access to case management and all of the amenities of the Recovery portion of the program. Now, though, they pay rent from their wages at Thrift ‘n’ Thrive.
“When relationships are broken, that’s when we see people come into homelessness.”
The goal of Transition is to ensure long-term, independent housing after Re:Center as well as mend relationships in the men’s lives. This includes a deeper connection with the church, reconciliation with family and debt elimination.
“When relationships are broken, that’s when we see people come into homelessness,” Alexa said. Sometimes, men experiencing homelessness believe that if they are employed, they must be “doing ok,” regardless of their debilitating addiction, unstable relationships, or lack of shelter. To enter into Re:Center’s programs, a man must be sober and unemployed.
Re:Center offers six internship positions through Love Thy Neighborhood in the areas of program management, office administration, development, marketing and communications, and volunteer management.
If you are as passionate as Re:Center about helping men and women make long-term, high-impact changes in their lives through the gospel, you can learn more and apply here: https://lovethyneighborhood.org/homelessness/.
You can apply to intern with Thrive ‘n’ Thrive here: http://ltninternships.org/companies/social-enterprise-homelessness/.