Opening doors at Penn Place
Mar 10, 2016
Diakonos believes that by bringing people together to serve others in need, a church would develop among those on mission together. Diakonos collaborates with community agencies and other faith-based groups focusing their service on the marginalized in their community.
Recently, a 38-unit building named Penn Place opened for those who had been chronically homeless. Many of the new residents were people the church already knew from partnering with Food 4 Souls, an organization providing food for those without homes in the Indy area.
The folks of Diakonos saw this as a new opportunity to sow shalom and continue relationships. Already, they had been collecting donated items for the new residents, in cooperation with the caseworkers helping them in the transition. But they wanted to do more.
In late February, Diakonos held the first monthly community dinner for the residents of Penn Place, serving a meal and facilitating an evening of conversation around board and card games for everyone in attendance. 15 residents of the 40 residents came, allowing them to connect with old friends and making new ones as well.
Interestingly, the day before Diakonos held the dinner, The Indianapolis Star printed an article about Penn Place that included a quote from the property developer asking faith-based ministries to get involved in the project. Without their knowing, the developer had already envisioned groups like Diakonos to be involved in serving this new community.
This is the first attempt in Indianapolis to address homelessness through a “Housing First” development for the chronically homeless. Diakonos’ presence there is providing additional support to the caseworkers by helping to create a sense of community among the residents, and giving them a voice among city leaders piloting this project to address homelessness.
Pray for the city leaders to be effective in serving people without homes. Pray for Penn Place and its residents. Pray also for the connections Diakonos has with a Christian couple living there who have a vision for starting a community Bible study.
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