Submitted by the Rev. Stephanie Price
Associate Pastor, Hope United Methodist Church
Formally founded in 2014, the Village Resource Center exists to connect the needs of the individual with the resources of the faith communities. With Hope United Methodist Church and Presbyterian of the Covenant as the organization's initial partners, the VRC is now faithfully supported by six local faith communities in Greenwood Village who contribute monthly pledges ranging from $300 to $600 a month.
"Working together, we found that instead of the small stopgaps we might do as individual churches, that we could truly provide a longer-term solution to someone in real financial emergency,” says the Rev. Barb Lyons, pastor of Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Greenwood Village. “The power of a resource center is that we can work together to help people stay in homes, stay together as families, deal with their long-term needs."
With the expanded contribution base, over the past twelve months, the Village Resource Center has provided rental assistance to 46 families in amounts ranging from $200 to $500 each. Families struggling to find and maintain permanent housing benefit from the expertise of VRC Case Manager, Diana Huerta, who regularly has contact with an average of 28 people in crisis each month who have been referred by VRC member churches.
Diana speaks of the impact the loving presence of our faith communities has on the people whom she helps. "It makes such a difference to them," Diana says, "to know that this help is coming from a church." At our October Board meeting, Diana noted how grateful recipients of financial assistance have been including the story of a 70-year-old woman who is the sole caregiver for her adult son with disabilities. The financial aid the VRC was able to provide her with allowed her to avoid homelessness.
The stories of hope and sustainability coming out of the Village Resource Center have gained the organization notice from local social services agencies resulting in an invitation for the Village Resource Center case manager to be a presenter at the Arapahoe County Human Services training. For Greenwood Village faith communities ministering to a community where the median income in 2015 was $124,441, the presence of poverty could easily be invisible. Yet, for our neighbors in need, the Village Resource Center is a sanctuary offering belonging in the midst of crisis.