There’s a non-profit in town that wants to look at homelessness in Prince William County a bit differently.
The Helping Neighbors-in-Need Outreach Center celebrated their one year anniversary in Dale City last weekend at 4223 Dale Boulevard.
The center, which is being run by Pastor Madlin Edmonds, wants to do more than passively provide food and supplies to the area’s homeless that live in various ‘tent cities’ across the county.
Instead, the organization is focused on finding permanent housing, counseling, job-search assistance, and other resources that will help those in need to become stable for the long-term.
“What sets us apart from other organizations that are doing wonderful work…is that we’re no longer making our unsheltered neighbors comfortable where they are. What we are doing is bringing them out of the environment that’s not conducive to healing, it’s not conducive to recovering, [and] it’s not conducive to getting out of underneath their circumstances…we embrace the whole person, not just the need for food, not just the need for water,” said Edmonds.
An earlier iteration of Neighbors-in-Need did bring supplies to the woods, but they will no longer be doing it.
“The woods is not the best that life has to offer for them…There needs to be a change in the culture – in the way we think. It’s because we have made our unsheltered neighbors…comfortable where they are. And all of us need to come to the table and say ‘let’s join hands, and let’s do it this way’, because it has a better, more positive outcome,” said Edmonds.
The non-profit will be reapplying for a $13,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to help fund some of the organization’s services, and according to Edmonds, the center’s office space cost was covered by a private donor.
Helping Neighbors-in-Need is looking for additional donations from area residents, as well as volunteers that can assist with donation pickup, transport for individuals, and other related activities.