“Deep waters call out to what is deeper still.” – Psalm 42:7
There is difficult but beautiful imagery in this verse.
If you dig just a little bit, this is a passage of great distress – it’s about the deep waters of our troubles and the suffering and the wondering: where in the world is God when we can barely keep our head above water or worse yet, we’re drowning.
This psalm goes on to say, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning?” This resonates so deeply with the journeys of the moms in our program. Whether they’re drowning in the deep waters of abuse, addiction, debt, divorce, human trafficking, unemployment, loss of their children to the state – any of the things that lead to or are a part of homelessness…. those are the deep waters.
But there is HOPE in the deep waters. What is deeper still is God. At rock bottom, under the roar of a waterfall, catching your breath for just a minute, then being knocked down again by the waves and the breakers. Right there–that’s where God is. Deeper than all of it. Deeper Still.
As a mission that is called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we are tasked with reaching into those deep waters to be a life raft for those in need.
Here are 4 ways that New Life Mission is going Deeper Still in 2024: 1) more beds for more families 2) expanded program and services 3) our community relationships and 4) our nationwide partnerships
#1 More beds for more families
New Life Mission has seen rapid growth since 2009. Today we have 4 campuses in Melbourne – three of which we own debt-free. The fourth campus, New Life Village, has $757,000 left to raise in the capital campaign as of February 2024. This 25-acre location is the former Hacienda Girls Ranch that served girls in foster care.
In less than a year, we have opened two group-style living homes – called Naomi and Abigail – where we have space for 10-12 families depending on the number of children. In Spring 2024, we will open the third house – Ruth – which will provide shelter for another 7 families. In 2024, we will have capacity to serve 38-40 families at one time, which equates to well over 100 women and children.
Because of the setup of New Life Village homes, we can now accept larger families: 3, 4 and even 5 children. In fact, we have a new mom, Monica, who has four boys. The deeper story here is that Monica lived at the Hacienda Girls Rach when she was a child in the foster care system. What a beautiful story of redemption this could be. Monica now has the opportunity to free herself from the chains of homelessness and break the cycle for those four boys.
#2 Expanded programs and services for families
As we look at what brings women to New Life Mission, we’ve also had to dig deeper into how we provide the resources to help them stay and fight for a new life versus running as most of them have done in the past.
In 2023, we received a grant from Health First that opened up the door to add a full-time, in-house mental health therapist. One roadblock we were seeing was that it took 30-60 days for a new mom to get an initial mental health evaluation. Knowing that all of the moms come with some form of anxiety, depression or PTSD, we needed to get them help sooner. Our moms are now evaluated before they come into the program, during their first week and they receive ongoing care. By having a therapist on site, we are also able to provide crisis intervention.
In 2022, we opened our own childcare center called Kids Academy. Spending more time with the children has allowed us to go deeper into the cognitive challenges and behavioral issues of the children and get them the help they need sooner.
We continue to offer individualized case plans for our families, financial coaching, educational and career guidance, and access to any resources they need to clean up their past and move forward.
#3 Community Relationships
We know that we can’t help every hurting person in Brevard County, so we are going deeper in our relationships with other homeless service providers. We receive 200-300 calls and applications per month from those needing help, and every person receives a response. Many don’t qualify for our program because they are men or single women, so it’s important for us to be able to direct them to other agencies.
Our staff meets monthly with the Brevard Homeless Coalition, which includes 70+ agencies in our county and with Brevard Schools Students in Transition program, which currently has identified 820 children in homeless families.
This winter we partnered with Vocational Rehab – now called DiscoverAbility – to employ one of our moms, Tiffany, in our Transformed Shop sewing center for 12 weeks. This on-the-job training was paid for by Discoverability and we, in turn, provided Tiffany with job skills that she can add to her resume.
We work closely with other agencies that believe in the right to human dignity – that the basic needs of food, water, shelter, clothing and love belong to every person. There is a cost to our community that affects all taxpayers and all of our pocketbooks. Going deeper in the community also means educating businesses, church leaders and school officials about the realities of homelessness.
#4 Nationwide Partnerships
We’re deepening our relationships with a national network of rescue missions through our membership in Citygate Network. Citygate is a nexus of 300+ independent, faith-based missions across the U.S. and Canada. We’re sharing information, trainings and resources. Currently, Citygate members are shining a light on critical issues such as affordable housing, mental health, and substance abuse. There is strength in numbers, and together we have a stronger voice in legislative circles.
As a fairly young “teenage” mission celebrating our 15th birthday this year, New Life Mission benefits from the size and experience of these other rescue missions that have been around for 25, 50 and 100+ years.
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