For Alan Graham, it’s never been complicated: Homeless people need a safe, supportive place to live, and if they suffer from addiction or mental illness, they need that place to live before they can get healthy.
Actually, Alan would probably say it’s even easier than that: Jesus said, “Whatsoever you do for the least of my people, so you do unto me.”
This week, Alan and his team at Mobile Loaves and Fishes won a tremendous victory in their years-long work to build “Community First,” a community of mobile homes and support services for homeless adults. So many Austin neighborhoods have turned them away, saying they don’t want “those” people living in their neighborhood. It’s been disheartening, and that makes this victory extra sweet.
I’ve seen, met and interviewed SO MANY of the people Alan has helped – by first giving them a safe, humane place to live and then helping them get their lives together and giving them a network of support.
A few years ago, we used to put out a magazine for MLF called 12 Baskets. No other work has meant so much to me – even GC – because it forced me into the lives of several formerly homeless people rescued by MLF. Each of those issues represents MLF’s work, but you should also know that it represents the heroic lives of MLF’s clients. And I have to say, my contributors and I cried a lot making those magazines, overwhelmed by the tremendous obstacles MLF clients face and overcome every day. We made those magazine pro bono for MLF, but really it was the other way around — they were a gift from Alan to me.
Here’s the thing: Other nonprofit people, even those whose work helps homeless people… they just don’t know what to think of him. Is Alan a nonprofit leader? Is he a man of faith? …does it matter? He is a decisive, compassionate, inspiring and relentless leader who talks about Jesus like he knows him. And who never gives up – even if it takes almost a decade, even if thousands of Austinites have told him and his people to go away. Alan gets shit done.
Here’s the other thing: You can help. MLF needs to raise $2 million more of the $8 million they need for this project. And every donation helps. Imagine your donation going toward a safe, supportive home for Austin homeless people.
Imagine that person sleeping in a bed, their things around them, a roof over their head and a door that locks. Can you imagine how well that person would rest? The relief? After years of even decades of living on the streets, what does it feel like to go to bed that first night in your own home?