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Grace Women & Children's Center  
(A Ministry of Pioneer United Methodist Church)


Melissa, age 26, is the mother of Aaron, age 4, and Lexie, age 2. Melissa and her husband divorced, and her 25-hour a week minimum-wage job did not cover the rent.  She lost her apartment and moved in with her parents.  Melissa stayed there as long as she could, but because her parents are renters, she could not stay long or their lease would be in jeopardy.  She stayed with her aunt a few days and did the same with various friends, moving around a lot. 
At night, Melissa sleeps in her car, parked out in front of someone else’s house where her two children are inside warm.  She sleeps terribly, which makes parenting and being on time for work very hard.  Melissa lost her job and, because she is not working, she lost her childcare.  She has nowhere to go during the day and no place to put the children down for a nap or play with them.  They are exhausted by the lack of routine.  Melissa is quickly spending what little money she has on gas, on easy fast food for the kids, and paying a little bit to the people who let her children sleep in a warm place and not in the car.  Her options are running out.
She hears about an agency that can help her and walks in with her children, only to learn that there is no room at the Christian Aid Center tonight.  She is not a victim of domestic violence and is therefore not eligible for a room at the YWCA.   There are no hotel vouchers.  Melissa has no one else to stay with.  She needs Grace.
Many community agencies are partnering to provide this much-needed service to homeless women and children like Melissa, Aaron, and Lexie. It is a community effort, and there is a lot of need. The City’s homeless sleeping serves single men and single women, no children. There are two warming centers, operated by churches government and United Way, which opens up on nights when the temperature drops to 25 degrees.  These centers serve adults only; no children.  The Christian Aid Center is in the midst of a building project that will eventually shelter 52 women and children, but at this time, they are operating with fewer beds. The YWCA’ s shelters serve domestic violence victims, so women and children who are dealing with those issues can find safety there. For homeless women with children, the options are few.  Grace has the much needed space for such a project, and several community agencies with experience in helping homeless people are part of this project.

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