Monday, December 15, 2008

Neighbors help neighbors in trouble with Sleep-Out

On a day like today, when the high temperature in the Twin Cities of Minne-so-cold won't climb above 0 degrees F, I am grateful to be blessed with a warm house, a warm car, and a warm office. I also cannot help but think about those who lack one or more of the these.

According to federal government sources, most of the "poor" in the United States have a higher standard of living than the middle class did just a few generations ago, and than much of the rest of the world today. Yet times are indeed tough. Many are truly struggling with finding housing, child care, transportation, or employment, even in the affluent Twin Cities west metro area.

Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (ICOP) helps 1500 families and individuals every year to move from tough times to better days. They turn away many others. Their clients aren't looking for a "bailout:" according to IOCP, 58% of the families to which they provide housing services need help for only one or two months to stabilize their situation.

For the thirteenth year in a row, folks in the west metro from churches, Boy Scout troops, and other groups (and employees from companies like General Mills and Wells Fargo) have been sleeping outside in subfreezing temperatures in November and December and beyond to raise money for and awareness about the homeless. This year their goal is $2 million, which would prevent 939 families from becoming homeless (and participating in an involuntary Sleep-Out). If you live in the west metro, please join me in supporting this year's Sleep-Out.

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