FUND HOMELESS LOCKER PROJECT +MURAL
HELP THE HOMELESS STORE THEIR POSSESSIONS SAFELY AND FEEL PART OF THE COMMUNITY: FUND OUR LOCKER PROJECT AND ART MURAL
The City of Fort Collins voted not to fund the lockers that Fort Collins Mennonite Fellowship wanted to install for the homeless. Even so, I am smiling excitedly, because we bring Good News to the poor, and proclaim that we SHALL have lockers.
The City said no, but the people are saying yes… including a man who called our Fellowship out of the blue because he wanted to send us some money to help continue our locker project! The people said amen.
And now are asking folks to step up to the plate and help make this project a reality. Your donation will help Fort Collins Mennonite Fellowship purchase and install lockers, hire a staff person to manage them, as well as commission a community mural in honor of the people we serve.
So why do we need lockers for the homeless?
I could tell you. Or, I could have our homeless friends explain it better.
Our friend Cody sent an email to City Council about the importance of lockers:
"I believe that I am a prime example of how someone who is homeless and trying to better themselves, can utilize such a wonderful concept....
#1 it would be close to the shelters where most of us reside.
#2 It would have all-hour and weekend access, unlike the Murphy Center, where many of us have a small storage locker with limited access.
#3 I work at pizzeria in Longmont, and due to Transfort’s limited Flex runs, I don't have the time to get ready for work and be able to go to the Murphy Center with their hours of operation.
#4 It would be so much easier to exchange our dirty laundry for clean laundry, that would be much more conducive for everybody’s different and busy work/life styles.
#5 Many of us more poverty-stricken individuals can't afford our own [storage] units, so this gift would a God sent, and a helping hand to those of us less fortunate.
#6 Other than the easy accessibility factor, it would also ease the burden for many of us to not always have to tote what's left of our life belongings, but would give us the peace of mind that they are stored safely in a secure place."
Our friend Deborah spoke at City Council, sharing her story of how hard it was to carry her bags everywhere when she was homeless, and the physical problems it created. In fact, 1-1/2 years after getting housing, she still suffers from rotator cuff injuries.
Video: Deborah & Lynn about Lockers during Demonstration @City of Fort Collins
Our friend Nick was outside the municipal court when we spoke to him. He was trying to figure out a way to pay for his camping ticket, because he had to hide his bags outside behind an electrical box (see video).
A Little Background
After months of research, the City finally decided that more lockers were needed. The Murphy Center lockers were only available from 8-5 pm on weekdays and never on holidays. So, the City reached out to organizations and asked them, “Would you be willing to install lockers on your property?” Fort Collins Mennonite Fellowship was the only organization to respond!
Then, after promising the funds, the City dragged their feet for months. And long after FCMF created a plan, hired a locker manager, and thought of an art mural design, the City (minus Kristen Stephens, of District 4) voted to stop the project!)
Voices ARE Being Heard
Right now, there is more than hope... there is action.
Last week, we had a phone call from a man who asked us where he could send a $3,000 check to get the Locker Project jump-started. And many other groups are joining. The Locker Project is alive!
Our voices are being heard, and the voices of the voiceless are triumphing. The voices are yelling, AMEN!
With lockers, our brothers and sisters without homes, shelter, and storage will be able to go to job interviews without the stigma of bringing a backpack.
Those with jobs will have a place in town to store their belongings without having to worry about losing their possessions.
As the weather changes daily, they will have access to dry clothes, to another pair of shoes, to hygiene items when stores are closed, and the Murphy lockers are 1-1/2 miles away by foot … lockers that are inaccessible before the Murphy Center opens and after it closes on weekdays.
Even better, without their belongings on their back, they will feel more like part of the community and will be less likely to be stigmatized as “homeless.”
We also plan to have our homeless friends help create a mural on the backside of the lockers to remind the world of who the kingdom belongs to. Jesus was Homeless! "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." (Luke 9:58)
In a way, we are grateful for the outcome of the City Council vote. The Locker Project will now be 100% operated and controlled by people who wouldn’t dream of voting against helping “the least of these."
Our Fellowship is personally more inspired now, knowing that our funding will come from people who care, rather than a city government that dragged its feet on the issue and ultimately could not bring itself to help fund the project.
Please consider donating to our cause. Let your homeless brothers and sisters know that even though they showed up at City Council and the Council voted against them, “We The People” have their backs. We love them with all our hearts, minds, and souls.
"How can we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?"
Photo: Pastor Steve and Food Not Bombs group serving food on Friday night.
Video: Free concert at FCMF during one of our Friday nights, courtesy of Rachael McCuaig.
That means we are a little over 1/4th of the way to our goal!!!
Keep sharing so we can get our lockers up and running, and start designing our mural.
Everyone at FCMF and our brothers and sisters carrying heavy bags day-in, day-out, is extremely grateful.