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Reader Opinion: Support New Pathways

Studies have estimated that about 46 percent of homeless persons are children 21 or younger and 25 percent of homeless adults experienced homelessness as children. New Pathways is a service for homeless families with children in the Cambridge and...

Studies have estimated that about 46 percent of homeless persons are children 21 or younger and 25 percent of homeless adults experienced homelessness as children. New Pathways is a service for homeless families with children in the Cambridge and Brainerd areas of Minnesota. Although many in our area are familiar with the program, this letter is a reminder of its importance and to give a brief description to those who may not know of it.

In the Brainerd area, 12 churches representing many denominations provide overnight accommodations and meals in their facilities, and an additional 12 churches provide volunteers for the one-week rotations. The total number of volunteers over a year's time is over 550. New Pathways is not only a food and shelter program. It includes assessment and education aimed at helping families find jobs and affordable housing. Overall effectiveness in achieving this goal is about 70 percent, and close to 90 percent for those who complete the program. Participation provides area churches a good opportunity to practice some marks of Christian discipleship.

Funding for the program barely meets the annual needs, so all gifts are appreciated and more would be helpful. Since over half the funding comes from state and federal programs, a corporate board of directors is necessary. I have completed three years on the board and I am planning on serving one more term. I am currently the only member from the Brainerd area and the board would optimally prefer two or three. Therefore this is also an appeal for anyone interested in becoming a board member to contact Marge Burns at margeburns@q.com or 651-674-8527.

Dick Peterson

Nisswa

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