I came into contact with The House of Refuge ( THOR) Jan 31, 2007. I volunteered for the Point in Time Count, a snapshot of the homeless population here in Burke County, N.C. I got drawn into there plight in life because of my experiences during downtrodden times. David and Kathy Collins, who organized this Point in Time count was in association with a national movement to eradicate homelessness in ten years. An impossible dream? Maybe, but its better than no dream at all. David and Kathy had this calling and followed their dream in this little southern town. With very little encouragement from the political powers that be here, they accepted the homeless into their home, yes their private, personal home. Many warned them of the potential dangers of the violent nature of this population, one even brought them a gun to protect themselves. Relying on faith, and common sense precautions--like treating them as human beings--there have been no physical altercations and no need for a gun, which, by the way, they disposed of immediately. The naysayers have been quieted, the disbelievers have become believers, and the political powers that be have tempered their view from, "What homeless problem in this tourist, retirement mecca?", to "Well maybe there are a few, and they should stay hidden." Anyway, for the last 3 yrs. David and Kathy have literally, single handedly housed, fed, clothed, enhanced, and placed the majority of them into a more stable environment. For the details and statistics contact refugeministries.us I have personally been involved with this ministry from the daily hands on driving them to the house, making tea, coffee, fixing dinner, getting socks underwear, washing dirty clothes to case managing their transition to finding jobs and their own living quarters. This has enriched my life many times over and has given me a more stable standing in my own spirituality, my self esteem, and has given more meaning to, "I can only keep what I give away." Today, we are getting ready to move from a 5 bed facility to a 20 bed facility, thanks to the generosity of individuals and churches, who have been looking for an outlet to funnel their resources into a viable working system to help the disaffiliated. During the last 2 months, November, December and now half of January we have been sheltering 9-12 persons per night and on life-threatening weather days, the day also at David and Kathy's house. The new facility is not too far off. I am pleased and honored to play a small part in their vision and to tell my story.
The House of Refuge (THOR) is a great community resource. When I come in contact with people without a home the leadership of THOR is just a phone call away to resource with and the refer. The staff is caring and considerate to our neighbors in need and see them as people of worth. They are committed to helping people gain independence.
This organization was started in the home of two dedicated community members. I am in awe of their generosity and compassion. It is an honor to support such an organziation where everyone gives their time and resources so freely. The House of Refuge serves the community first. Caring for folks who otherwise might never see a safe bed or warm food. This shelter is the first of its kind in our county of 87,000. With the Homeless point in time head count last year identifying 190 homeless people that we know of ... The House of refuge couldn't be needed more. There is NO shelter other than THOR. It was started with no funds and the community has rallied together to generate support. What a motivator, what a testimony to the very community we live in that togehter WE can make a difference in the lives of EVERYONE!