Pointing the Way: Sarah Gavert
“Spending time with the families, they became real, not just statistics on paper…”
The following speech was given during the Family Supportive Housing Launch event on December 5, 2019 in Shakopee. Sarah Gavert of Hope Lutheran Church in Jordan is a long-time volunteer and supporter of Beacon. As a supporter of Prairie Pointe, Sarah spoke on her experience with supportive housing and touched on why she believes all people should have a home…
My name is Sarah Gavert from Hope Lutheran Church in Jordan. I am on our Beacon Leadership Team and the Volunteer Coordinator for Families Moving Forward. Hope Lutheran partners with St John’s Catholic Church to provide shelter for FMF guests.
I never really thought of the homeless before FMF came to Hope in 2014. The church asked for volunteers to help with FMF and I thought it was a way in which I could help. So, I volunteered for a few evening host spots and over time became the Volunteer Coordinator.
Spending time with the families, they became real, not just statistics on paper. Some of them shared their stories of how they ended up homeless. The reasons are varied/many. From losing a job, a break-up of a marriage, getting sick and behind on bills, the list goes on. It is heart breaking. It made me want to know more about the housing crisis which led me to get more involved with Beacon.
On the home front, my son Austin, who from about 6 years old on, has struggled with mental illness, severe depression and anxiety. He has been in and out of hospitals, foster care and treatment centers. It was, and is, traumatizing for the entire family. In his mid to late teens he started self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, becoming impossible to live with, and I told him to leave home. As a person of faith, having my son leave my home was something I really wrestled with. It seemed to go against the teachings I was brought up with, but for my own mental and physical health I had no choice.
He is now sober, on medication and once again living with me. Although I am no longer worried about what will happen to him out on the streets, it’s still a daily struggle living with him, his depression and his anxiety. But he has a home right now, a place where he can cope with his challenges. You could say I am his supportive housing. I became more deeply involved with Beacon and the need to build more affordable homes because of the FMF families and because of my son.
I love the quote of Albert Einstein that goes “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
I believe that everyone should have a home and I know first-hand that some people need support to maintain that home and imagine a bright future. We have the opportunity to make that possible for more families in Scott and Carver Counties by working together. I hope you’ll join with me in making it happen.