A Message from our Executive Director
The mission of Room in the Inn-Memphis is to serve those experiencing homelessness in a safe environment of hospitality. Our core program is to offer emergency overnight shelter in communities of faith. As the pandemic caused the immediate suspension of our regular shelter season it took only hours to know that we would continue our mission in every way safely possible for our guests and volunteers.
The homeless guests that we serve are among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. They live in extreme circumstances with limited access to some of the essentials needed for good health. Most have serious chronic health issues that compromise immune systems. Our board and staff shifted focus to offering respite care in local hotels for the medically fragile members of the homeless community in our city. We are working with local medical facilities to help these guests comply with the “safe at home” initiative by supplying a temporary place to call home. We are fortunate to provide this shelter and meals for a place to recover with the help of generous individual and congregation donor support.
Our volunteers are continuing to serve our guests daily by providing meals at the pop-up women’s shelter at a downtown hotel. Since the time of quarantine began over 2,400 meals have been provided by RITI congregations and friends. I am very glad that we have partnered with The Hospitality Hub in this shelter for women. Volunteers are also busy making masks for those being sheltered and especially for those still on the street each day and night.
Even though we cannot be together in groups our Outreach Director, Ben Short, is training volunteers online for our new Housing Navigator Program. This program will pair volunteers with a guest who is in the process of working toward securing housing. Sometimes having a companion along the journey could be the difference between success and frustration. This virtual training will insure that as soon as we are open for hospitality these volunteers are ready to get started.
This time has been one of adjustment and also one of opportunity for new and creative ways to meet the needs of those who depend on our care. Our supporters continue to be incredibly generous and I would invite anyone wishing to become involved even in this time to join us. You may do this by providing meals, making masks, becoming a housing navigator or by making an important financial contribution. We say every day that the Inn Crowd is the Best Crowd, we say it in love for those that go above and beyond for our guests. It makes a difference in real lives.
Peace and health,
Rev. Lisa Anderson, Executive Director