Emergency Homelessness Prevention Program
by Ada Yue
Being obedient to God always requires us to have courage to overcome oppositions and challenges. On the 12/2 Prayer Meeting, when Pastor Ted invited us to join the COVID-19 Emergency Homelessness Prevention Program (CEHPP) Missions Trip, I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to respond “Yes” despite the fact that I am old and cannot speak Spanish. In the meantime, I struggled with some deterrents. A few days before the Missions Trip, my brother was admitted to the Emergency Room and demanded more of my time to care for him. I also debated whether to take the risk of being infected with the COVID-19 virus at my age and to set aside all my commitments to make time available for this 3-week volunteer opportunity.
During my Bible reading time, God’s words in Proverbs 28:27 and 29:7 spoke to me:
“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses” and “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” So, I decided to obey God and sign up for the missions trip.
During the missions trip, I faced other challenges. I have been out of the workforce for 4 years since retirement. I thought I knew how to work on the computer and the Google spreadsheets. I was shocked to realize that the technology has advanced so much, that what I knew before had become obsolete. I was the most low-tech person on the team and needed a lot of coaching. In addition, I had a hard time hearing people because I have hearing loss in my right ear and I rely on reading lips. Now, everyone spoke through a mask that took away my visual cues. Wearing a mask all day not only made me feel stuffy, but also fogged my eye glasses from the steam of my own breath. I was unproductive and unhelpful for the team in the 1st week. The tech-savvy team members like Maria, Audrey, Michelle were so patient and kind with my slow learning.
By the 2nd week, I was less of a burden for the team. However, the team was hit with a scare that 5 team members were out because they tested positive for COVID-19. I wondered if we would lose more team members to COVID-19 infections and if we would be able to accomplish our goal of processing 300 applications in these 3 weeks.
Through this missions trip, God showed me that it is not about what we can offer, but about what He can do with our obedience. I only needed to make myself available partnering with Him and He took me on the ride of seeing His faithfulness and sovereignty. Throughout the 3 weeks, my brother did not demand more care from me. I also experienced working with an amazing team of wonderful people. We worked together seamlessly without conflict despite our cultural and ethnic diversities to move forward with the common goal of helping 300 families avoid homelessness. God quickly healed the 5 sick team members, protected the rest of us from the virus and He empowered us to accomplish our goal. At the end of the missions trip, our team was able to complete 299 applications and brought a total of over $2 million in financial assistance to the extremely low income (ELI) households. It was a joy to know that poor families could stay in their homes and to see the smiles on their faces as they were picking up their checks.
This CEHPP mission is a partnership among 21 agencies. Healing Grove Health Center processed half of the 1000 applications while the other 20 agencies combined processed the other half. We accomplished more, not because we were smarter or better than them, but because we had the Holy Spirit which unites us together and strengthens us to scale the wall.
Overall, the CEHPP Program has helped 1,000 families with $4 million in financial aid. Still, over 13,000 ELI households in Santa Clara County, with a rent debt of $113 million, are at imminent risk of homelessness when the eviction ban expires on January 31, 2021. Even though it seems like a huge need, our God can move mountains. Will you set aside your oppositions and challenges and join the movement of debt eradication for the poor? Visit https://povertypandemic.org/ for more information and to see how you can get involved.