A major priority of the Hendricks Family Foundation is to give people a second chance in life. With that in mind, the Foundation has awarded a grant of $50,000 to the God Is Faithful Temporary Shelter, more commonly known as GIFTS.
Located in Janesville, WI, GIFTS served more than 274 men in 2017; 35 to 40 percent of the homeless guests were from Beloit.
The shelter is the only men’s homeless shelter in Rock County and provides a chance for men to turn their lives around. It was founded in 2007 by area churches and has a strong faith-based mission. There are four staff members who operate the facility and members from 38 churches who rotate weekly to provide support.
“The volunteers check guests into the shelter during the evening, provide breakfast and dinner, overnight supervision, meet one-on-one with the men to assist them with their Life Recovery Plans, work the reception desk during the day, sort donations, lead devotions, and lead recovery group meetings,” said Stephanie Burton, GIFTS Director.
The men also are assisted with medical and other treatment services, resumes, employment, housing and transportation.
Data shared during a recent visit:
- 16 of 27 current guests have secured employment
- 6 men are in school (1 in welding, 4 CNC and 1 in high school)
- 3 are engaged in formal substance abuse treatment
- 85 percent of the men secure independent housing at exit
- Recidivism rate is 18 percent. The recidivism population is largely mentally ill and/or has ongoing substance abuse issues.
“The men we serve are welcome to stay at the shelter as long as they are actively working on their life improvement plan. Our goal is to help them address the reason(s) leading to their homelessness and transition back into the community equipped for
success. The average stay is 60 days but some men require longer,” Burton said.
Guests must remain alcohol and drug free during their stay, including taking a breathalyzer test each time they leave and return to the facility.
The grant the HFF awarded GIFTS is part of the current $1.6 million capital campaign launched for renovation, operation and other costs associated with purchasing a permanent building for the center in 2017. Prior to that, the men stayed in rotating
churches. The center does not receive government funding.
“GIFTS is excited and very grateful for the gift from the Hendricks Family Foundation,” Burton said.
Capacity at the center is 25 currently with a goal of 42 eventually. By fall, it is anticipated 30 men can be housed.
“The GIFTS shelter is a great example of what it means to give people a second chance, to provide a hand up, not a hand out,” said Kendra Story, Hendricks Family Foundation Board of Directors, Vice-President. “With faith at the core of the organization, individuals in need are treated with compassion and respect and lives are being transformed,” she said.