Church helping needy find a place to call their home

Many moving from shelters to permanent abodes

Regina Castillo and her young family arrived here a little over a month ago from Bakersfield, Calif., literally looking for a roof to cover their heads.

"The place where we were at before was pretty bad," said Mrs. Castillo, a wife and mother of three who is also helping care for her teenage brother. Now the Castillos can look to better days ahead, thanks to a downtown shelter and their friends in the Church.

Maria,6, works on her butterfly valentine as Bishop H. David Burton chats with residents of The Road Home on Feb. 14, 2003. (Submission date: 02/14/2003)
Maria,6, works on her butterfly valentine as Bishop H. David Burton chats with residents of The Road Home on Feb. 14, 2003. (Submission date: 02/14/2003) Photo: Photo by Laura Seitz

For several weeks the Castillos and several other families have been staying at the Road Home, a Utah facility that takes scores of homeless families off the streets, gives them emergency shelter then works to place them in permanent housing. The Church's decades-long support for the Road Home (formerly the Travelers Aid Society) took another step Feb. 14 in helping the Castillos and others make the transition from homelessness to a place they can call their own.

Bishop H. David Burton of the Presiding Bishopric presented the Road Home with a check from the Church for $250,000. In addition, the Church will offer its resources from the Deseret Industries and the Bishop's Storehouse to help people from the Road Home make the shift to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

"It's a source of real satisfaction for me, and those with whom I associate, that we can work together to help people move off the streets and move into warm, lovely homes," Bishop Burton said.

The contribution, he added, was made possible by members and friends of the Church "who have given their means out of a desire to live God's commandments and to love our neighbors as ourselves."

Folks at the Road Home say the Church's donation is already improving the lives of Utah's needy. A Road Home-supported shelter in Midvale, Utah, that is used in the winter will now remain open through the end of March. Without the Church's gift, the Midvale shelter may have closed in mid-February, according to Road Home executive director Matthew Minkevitch.

Mr. Minkevitch said the Road Home enjoys an ongoing relationship with the Church, adding Bishop Burton is a frequent and supportive visitor to the facility.

When families from the Road Home are placed in permanent housing they can now draw upon the resources of the Deseret Industries and the Bishop's storehouse. The Deseret Industries will help provide them with home furnishings. The Bishop's Storehouse will also provide food for those leaving the Road Home to pack their pantries and help get them started.

Bishop Burton said the Road Home is receiving sacred funds.

"I'm always amazed at how generous the saints are," he said. "They want to be helpful and they manifest that with their contributions."

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