Much has changed. This year has been unlike anything anyone has experienced. In early March our community adjusted much of how we did every aspect of “normal life.” At FPL, we quickly adjusted how we serve the local needs of families experiencing homelessness or who were precariously housed. We adjusted our model of shelter and focused more sharply on housing stabilization plans and moving families to housing with far more urgency than we had done in the past. How we did our work and ran our programming during the pandemic had to pivot. Our mission did not.

The strategic focus to broaden our tools to address Prevention – Shelter – Stabilization began in 2017. COVID-19 pushed that strategy to the front lines.

We all long for a return to “normal”. It will look different than it did before of course. There are, however, components of life and programming which we have adjusted to while enduring the pandemic that have illustrated a more urgent and critical path forward. Prevention and Stabilization are critical. Access to healthcare is critical. Housing as healthcare is critical. Social justice is critical. Essential workers are critical and need to be able to earn a living wage. Each of these critical issues affect families served by FPL. If these things are critical, then we need to incorporate them into our programming to meet the new normal. There is good in this perspective. There is hope. The pandemic has illustrated through painful lessons what is broken in our society and in our world and where our work at FPL can be improved. It is up to us to pursue the hope in the lesson and head confidently into the new normal ahead.

 

God “will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness. The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” Ps 9:8-9 (NLT)

 

Dana Ortiz, ED Family Promise of Lawrence

August 20, 2020

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