The Village House, a network of interfaith organizations and churches, will open their doors to homeless women this winter.
The broad-based organization of churches plans to open in January at Holy Spirit Parish in Almaden and rotate monthly from church to church throughout the year. Currently, seven churches have signed on to provide evening shelter and another two will provide daytime respite for 15 medically fragile women who live on the streets of San Jose. The interfaith network hopes to create a year-round rotating shelter in a dozen South Bay churches and religious assemblies.
The genesis for the new network came from last winter’s experience by several churches in housing previously homeless women. For four months 20 women were provided with shelter and meals in a supportive environment. Hundreds of volunteers supported the initiative that resulted in some cases with a job or apartment. The sadness, however, experienced by both the remaining guests as well as the church volunteers as the winter shelter ended served as the impetus for participating churches to expand their efforts this year.
In addition the Holy Spirit Parish, faith-based organizations providing evening shelters include: Saint Frances Cabrini, Saint Martin of Tours, Willow Glen United Methodist, Temple Emanu-El, Saint Timothy Lutheran Church and Cathedral of Faith. Churches that will provide places during the day for the women shelter guests will include Good Samaritan Episcopal and Saint Francis Episcopal Churches. The network is still looking for partners to fill out the 12-month schedule for 2017.
While the network is providing women with meals and a safe environment during the evening, the church partners, supported by grants from the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley, will help provide their guests with warm showers every night, a luxury most of us take for granted.
Volunteers at participating faith-based organizations will help with preparing and serving meals, overnight supervision, laundry, security and transportation.
The rotating shelter is one way the faith community in Silicon Valley is trying to provide a small way to help a small segment of the problem of over 4,000 homeless in the City of San Jose.