Even before Indiana issued the Stay-At-Home order, LUM and other community agencies sprang into action to address the realities of the pandemic. Portable sinks were purchased, others were donated. Masks were hand-made and distributed free of charge. Extra protocols were put into effect, such as cleaning, sanitizing, taking nightly temperature checks, and practicing social distancing. And, as has been the case since it began in 1984, the LUM Emergency Shelter never missed a night of offering a safe, warm, secure place to those experiencing homelessness in our community.
In the first eight months of 2020, LUM has provided over 5,500 overnight stays to 489 individuals, with four of those months in the midst of a global pandemic. All of the adaptation to COVID-19 realities has not been without cost. Additional cleaning supplies and equipment have been purchased and used. Volunteerism almost disappeared entirely during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. Additional paid staff hours have filled the volunteer gap.
Nonetheless, LUM has continued to address the complex problems facing our guests who are chronically homeless. Addiction, mental illness, emotional and physical disabilities, and unwise choices — all exacerbated by the anxieties of the pandemic — have never been harder to overcome. But the LUM staff members, now led by the new LUM Emergency Shelter director, Briton Weise, have resiliently served our guests, helping the guests to see brighter future possibilities.
Do you remember where you were on the night of Monday, March 23,when “Stay Home, Stay Safe” was ordered for the State of Indiana?
I was home, safe and warm, playing board games with my wife and kids. Logan Smith (not his real name) was lining up in the frigid 37 degree temperatures to get inside the LUM Emergency Shelter. For Logan and many other people in Tippecanoe County who had no place to call home, “Stay Home, Stay Safe” was frighteningly unrealistic.
How does one stay home and safe with no place to call home?
How does one regularly wash one’s hands without access to a sink?
How does one wear a mask when one doesn’t have one?
LUM was there for Loganon March 23 — and every night since, providing a place to temporarily call home and stay safe. LUM understood that the risk of COVID-19 to the homeless population was not just a health concern for individuals experiencing homelessness themselves but, due to the highly contagious nature of coronavirus, a risk to broader public health as well.
I am grateful that Logan had somewhere to go on March 23 to stay safe from the cold, and stay safe from coronavirus. There are brighter days ahead for Logan and for all of us. We may have several more months of difficulty before we get there. God will give Logan and all of us strength to persevere.
Please, will you make a generous financial gift to the Lafayette Urban Ministry Emergency Shelter, so that we can continue to offer people like Logan a warm, safe and caring place to shelter in these pandemic times?
Will you help us continue to serve those in our community who are experiencing homelessness? Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 to the LUM Emergency Shelter will help LUM continue to provide help and hope to those experiencing homelessness during this global health crisis.
Your financial generosity is not only an act of hospitality toward those with no home of their own, it is also an investment in the health and safety of the greater community. If you’re interested or need more information, click HERE — or email or call Briton Weise (email@example.com | 765-423-2691).
The LUM Emergency Shelter has recently been awarded a $17,500 grant from the City of West Lafayette through the Community Development Block Grant program made possible by the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security). This money will cover the unique costs incurred by the LUM Emergency Shelter as a result of COVID-19.
This award will ensure that the LUM Emergency Shelter may continue to operate during this crisis and provide support to those trying to avoid or transition out of homelessness every night of the year — while complying with and exceeding the recommended COVID-19 health & safety protocols. LUM is grateful for the continued support of and partnership with the City of West Lafayette.
Currently there are openings for Overnight Shelter Volunteers. Volunteers are needed 365 nights a year from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. or 8 p.m. to midnight. Duties include check-in, serve dinner, and distribute toiletries. Volunteers must be able to maintain confidentiality, interact with a variety of people, be at least 18 years old, and attend one Shelter Training Session. If you’re interested or need more information, click HERE — or email or call Briton Weise (firstname.lastname@example.org| 765-423-2691).
The LUM Emergency Shelter provides short-term, overnight shelter, meals, and showers in a safe and caring environment for up to 44 homeless adults each night of the year. The LUM Winter Warming Station complements these services from November to April.
The staff members of the LUM Emergency Shelter are truly on the front line of this crisis. They manage the nightly operations of the LUM Emergency Shelter & Winter Warming Station. A small but dedicated team make it possible to offer a safe & caring place to one of the most vulnerable populations in our community — individuals experiencing homelessness.
The LUM Emergency Shelter staff recently participated in a video conference meeting to receive new information, give feedback on how things are going, and meet the new LUM shelter director, Briton Weise. The meeting was upbeat, collaborative and productive (pictured). The staff members left the meeting better prepared for another night at the LUM Emergency Shelter and excited to work with Briton.
The staff members of the LUM Emergency Shelter are truly on the front line of this crisis. A small but dedicated team make it possible to offer a safe & caring place to one of the most vulnerable populations in our community — individuals experiencing homelessness.
Briton grew up in Otterbein, Indiana, and married his high school sweetheart, Kendyl. Kendyl is the guidance director at Central Catholic High School (Lafayette), and they now live in Lafayette with their nine-month-old son, Bowen. They are members of Covenant Church (West Lafayette), and Briton is active with the music ministry. A graduate of Benton Central High School (Otterbein), Briton earned a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University (Upland) in Christian Education and anticipates finishing his Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University this fall.
Briton finds inspiration in his faith, especially this Bible passage from the Lord to Zechariah:
You must do what is right and fair. You must be kind and show mercy to each other. Don’t hurt widows and orphans, strangers, or poor people. Don’t even think of doing bad things to each other!
Prior to LUM, Briton coordinated agency relations and community outreach for the local food bank, including overseeing the partner agency program and backpack program. He also has experience as a youth minister and an adult education and ESL teacher.
He is excited to be a part of the team at Lafayette Urban Ministry, Briton has a passion for helping people and leading others to do the same. So far has at LUM, he has enjoyed being able to “bring love to bear toward our neighbors in tangible and meaningful ways.” For fun, Briton enjoys spending time with his family, playing his guitar, reading and woodworking.
LUM is fortunate to have Briton Weise join the LUM staff. Please join us in welcoming him to the LUM team.
Lafayette Urban Ministry has also been awarded a $10,000 grant made possible by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
This money is designated to provide emergency shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness including shelter operating costs, expansion of shelter and essential services for shelter guests and their families.
This award will ensure that the LUM Emergency Shelter may still operate during this crisis and provide support to those trying to avoid or transition out of homelessness.
EFSP is a program of the federal government designed to quickly provide emergency relief to those in our nation with critical housing and shelter needs.
This award will have a tremendous positive impact on LUM’s ability to assist families with critical housing expenses through the LUM Good Samaritan Fund and to offer emergency housing to individuals in transition at the LUM Emergency Shelter.