By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS-SEPT. 3, 2016) — It’s never easy being homeless. It’s probably one of the most stressful times in your life, and while we try to do the best we can for those staying with us at Joy Junction, we wanted to see what they thought.
With that in mind, we asked a few of our many guests what they liked most about the shelter.
A very grateful guest said she appreciates that she has never been turned away.
“Even though I messed up and acted stupid, (staff) have always had faith in me when I did not have faith in myself.”
Someone else said, “Junction gives me the opportunity to restore confidence and self-esteem damaged by my addiction.”
An appreciative guest said, “I thank the Lord that Joy Junction … allows me to stay sober and drug free.”
Another woman commented that Joy Junction is unique. In addition to meeting many daily needs, she said, “I believe this place shows the face of Jesus to the world. It is a beautiful ministry.”
Others were grateful for having a safe place to sleep at night with good security, three regular meals, and the “sense of family” felt at the shelter.
One guy said, “Joy Junction puts a roof over my head and reminds me of what responsibility means, which I lost. (It’s) a place that gives me some down time to work on myself.”
Someone else said he appreciated that length of stay at Joy Junction is tailored to the needs of individual guests and families. People can stay at Joy Junction for as long as they want to and are welcome. They are allowed to look for jobs as well as transitional housing.
One woman said, “Joy Junction makes me responsible for my work skills. It keeps me safe, and teaches me daily how to get closer to God and His word. JJ helps me to see things differently, and how to respond with patience, understanding and care.”
Others were appreciative for a caring staff at Joy Junction, and how much “they help us better our lives.”
We also asked some guests how Joy Junction is different from other shelters in which they have stayed.
There was a lot of appreciation shared that Joy Junction allows couples and families to stay together and doesn’t separate them.
Not splitting up families in need is what we have always done at Joy Junction, and has always been a core principle of the shelter. Families experiencing homelessness are already suffering enough trauma without being separated from their loved ones.
One woman appreciated Joy Junction’s confidentiality policy. “It’s a plus, because I had an ex-boyfriend who used to abuse me. I also feel more safer here and more comfortable here at Joy Junction than any other shelter.”
Volunteering made one guest feel better about staying at Joy Junction. It also had another consequence. “It makes me feel like my efforts matter.”
We also asked some guests about positive experiences they had encountered while staying at other shelters, and what they would like Joy Junction to (possibly) add.
One woman said she enjoyed having an hour’s worth of worship music every night.
That’s definitely something we could consider.
She also said she would like to see an intercessory prayer group in contact either personally or by email. Anyone interested should email us at email@example.com, and we’ll discuss the possibilities.
One woman had enjoyed outings to softball and volleyball games while staying at another mission, and said she would like to see something similar at Joy Junction.
While we appreciate the desire, that’s not something we could accomplish on a regular basis. However, with help from volunteers it might occasionally be a workable plan. Anyone with ideas should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other suggestions included more computer access for guests enabling a more successful job and housing search, and arts and crafts for adults.
One individual said other shelters allowed “allowed more interaction between males and females.’
That person added, “I think this is a realistic aspect of life recovery.”
However, experts almost universally advise against relationship or dating during the first year of recovery . It’s also a policy used by AA and other similar groups.
Your support makes possible all of the help we provide for Albuquerque’s homeless. It has done so for the last 30 years, and we’re excited about what the next three decades hold. For more information visit www.joyjunction.org.
Photo captions: 1) Residents express their views on Joy Junction. 2) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter (www.joyjunction.org). He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. One of his newest books is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. His latest book is “Two Hearts One Vision.” It is available at www.twoheartsonevisionthebook.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife, Elma. For more information, please contact Jeremy Reynalds at email@example.com .
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