A Letter from Joe Micon, LUM Executive Director
Fifty-eight year old Patrick Renfroe drank his first beer when he was just 12. At age 13 he was drinking hard liquor and smoking pot. By age 18 Patrick was buying and using crack cocaine.
He grew up in a home that was haunted by addiction. Both his father and sister lost their lives to drug and alcohol abuse. Patrick spent a total of 15 years in various Indiana prisons and the Tippecanoe County Community Corrections Program – all because of drug-related convictions.
Over the years, Patrick’s addiction took everything that was dear and important to him – his family, friends, employment, his freedom and even his physical health. In 2016, he suffered two strokes, one on each side of his brain, within the period of a single week.
It was during his rehab to regain his balance that Patrick realized he was powerless over his addiction. Unless he confronted his 45 year history of substance abuse soon, he knew his days would be numbered. Patrick shares,
“I was just so sick and tired of always being sick and tired.”
In May of this year, Patrick moved out of his apartment to escape the unhealthy influence of his roommates, and he started spending his nights at the LUM Emergency Shelter. Here he found a place that was not only bright, clean and friendly, but also a place that was supportive in his journey to sobriety.
At LUM, Patrick was exposed to various substance abuse helps, including…
- Weekly AA meetings
- Bi-weekly programs where resources are shared and testimony is provided by others who are fighting addiction
- Immediate transportation for those who desire in-patient addiction treatment
- A professional staff that understands addiction and speaks openly and honestly with guests about their illness
In addition, Patrick took frequent advantage of addiction groups and programs offered by various downtown Lafayette churches, all within short walking distance of the LUM shelter.
In the past year, 704 individuals came to the LUM Emergency Shelter. Each stayed an average of 12 nights – 8,448 overnight stays. In addition, LUM provided an overnight warming station, ensuring that nobody was stranded overnight on the streets of our community without a place to be safe and warm during the harsh winter months. An additional 584 overnight stays took place at the LUM Winter Warming Station.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the varied and complex problems facing our chronically homeless guests. Addiction, mental illness, poor life choices and emotional and physical disabilities are never easy to overcome. But with skill, perseverance and dedication, LUM staff members are often successful in helping our guests move off the streets into more self-sufficient living environments.
Please, won’t you support this important work with your dollars?
Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 will help the LUM Emergency Shelter provide addiction services and provide our homeless guests with the support they need to leave our shelter for a home of their own.
With money that Patrick was able to save from a brand new job at a local restaurant – and with a dollar-for-dollar match provided him by LUM – he was recently able to move out of the LUM Emergency Shelter and into a home of his own.
Patrick continues to attend daily NA or AA meetings and is proud that he has now been drug and alcohol free for seven months. He finds comfort and joy from being more active in his church and is grateful for everyone in his life who is helping him on his road to recovery.
In other words, Patrick Renfroe is grateful for YOU!
I hope you are as excited as I am about the positive changes that, together, we are making possible in the lives of those we serve. Lafayette Urban Ministry is providing more than just a well-run, safe and secure shelter for homeless individuals. We are providing the support, encouragement and tools our homeless guests need in their struggle with addiction. We are helping them to live more independent, self-sufficient lives. Please, won’t you join me today in making a generous financial gift to the Lafayette Urban Ministry Emergency Shelter?