Executive Director’s Note – Spring 2022
Greetings Crossroads Family!
As part of a recent strategic planning exercise, I was asked to pick out the “most important words” in Crossroads’ mission statement. The exercise made me realize just how much the statement expresses who we are as a ministry. Here is how the full statement reads:
Crossroads Community Ministries seeks to provide access to resources that empower people experiencing homelessness to progress on the road toward economic and personal stability.
This language was created with the intent of showing the necessity of each aspect working together as a whole toward the goal of developing community – one of our core values and central to our identity. No part of the statement can be fully effective without each of the others.
So often, the first and greatest barrier to stability for people experiencing homelessness is denial of access to the opportunities that so many others readily enjoy. Whether due to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status or other identifier, most of the neighbors who walk through the doors of Crossroads are those who have been systemically excluded from opportunities afforded other groups. We work with our neighbors and other partners to ensure that the resources to which we provide access are those that will result in the empowerment of those neighbors and indeed the entire community. The process (road) of empowerment is necessarily relational, reciprocal and communal. As poverty, marginalization, displacement and other forms of exclusion are the result of a lack of power, our work must be to progress toward a more just and equitable community where all have equal access to power – socially, economically and politically. Crossroads’ role in that community begins with access to a meal, a birth certificate, an ID, a mailing address, and a neighbor to walk the road with them.
We have always believed that the greatest resource for achieving stability at Crossroads is relationship within a community of equals. That can only occur where there is mutual trust, and trust demands an environment where individuals are treated with dignity and know that they have a voice in making decisions about their own journey. One of the most universal realities in the lives of our neighbors experiencing homelessness is a lack of stability. This instability may present itself on the surface as a lack of a home, a job or food, but there are always deeper circumstances that lead to these lived realities. Whether from abuse, a lack of quality education, alienation from family, mental health challenges, physical and mental disabilities, criminal records, or a host of other circumstances beyond the individual’s control, so many in our society move from adolescence to adulthood with the deck stacked against them.
Our desire is that at Crossroads, everyone who walks through the door will encounter the respite of a “beloved community” of neighbors working to provide the unique support system they need to overcome the barriers that have robbed them of power. There are not many quick fixes. Everything – and everyone – must work together for the good of each one, often creating new roads on which to journey.
With your help, in 2022 we will bring together more partners, more volunteers and more resources, leading to more stability for more neighbors than ever before. Won’t you join us?