The ancient Hebrew book of Nehemiah records the story of a community coming together to rebuild a city. Much like the rebuilding of Jerusalem, at Indwell our mission remains focused on “rebuilding” communities where people who have been oppressed by life experiences, chronic health issues, and injustices can experience health, wellness, and belonging.
In working alongside individuals with housing affordability, mental health, and (for some of our tenants) addictions challenges, we’ve seen again and again that putting a roof over one’s head is only the beginning of their journey towards wellness. Like Nehemiah faced opposition in the rebuilding of Jerusalem, there are obstacles—both systemically and individually—that we and our tenants face in this endeavour.
We explored some of these obstacles—and solutions—in our Community mini-series which we aired in September at our Virtual Road Trip.
A crack in the foundation
The ongoing housing crisis has become both amplified and underscored by our current pandemic. And it’s not just urban areas that are affected—small towns and rural areas are suffering too.
As if finding an affordable place to live during a global health crisis wasn’t enough of a challenge for people, there’s been a second pandemic brewing all throughout these last 20+ months. The opioid crisis—which has claimed the lives of too many within our communities—has been exacerbated by the aforementioned housing emergency, compounding the despair of an already desperate situation.
What the world needs
So, is there good news in all of this?
First, we need to take a step back and look at the big picture.
We provide more than the basics:
1) A safe place to live
2) Tenant-centred supports
Okay, the first two are probably obvious, but what about stability?
How do we provide stability in a world that is anything but stable?
Without discounting the fragility of people’s mental health, essentially
it comes down to community: building relationships—grounded in the
firm and steady hope modelled by Jesus—that bring out the best in every person.
We must remember that building life-giving relationships takes time—
but it’s worth the effort. Every win matters.
The good work is the hard work
Here’s an example.
In St. Thomas just this fall, 15 people came out of homelessness
and precarious housing situations and now have a safe place to live.
That’s no small step—it’s a huge step—but there will likely be “two
steps forward, one step back” events for some of these individuals in the
coming weeks and months.
Does that negate the hard work that each one is doing, and that the people around them are doing to support them? Certainly not! Just like Nehemiah, we continue to trust God and love our neighbours while focusing on the goal: life-giving community.