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Transcending Troubles

Bonner Homeless Transitions and Kinderhaven Foundation forge a relationship to change lives

Bonner Homeless Transitions and Kinderhaven Foundation forge a relationship to change lives By Damen Rodriguez

Here in Sandpoint, a relationship quietly emerges, radiating a warm welcome of hope. This is the story of Bonner Homeless Transitions (BHT) and Kinderhaven Foundation, two remarkable organizations, their dedication unwavering, their mission resolute: to help homeless families and individuals find their path to self-sufficiency and elevate the quality of their lives. We gather to shine a light on the extraordinary relationship that has breathed new life into Sandpoint's most vulnerable, encapsulating the essence of community spirit.

The vibrant synergy between Kinderhaven Foundation and Bonner Homeless Transitions is a testament to the strength of shared visions. These organizations have a singular mission: empowering homeless families and individuals to embrace self-sufficiency while nurturing the quality of their lives. The two organizations, like kindred spirits, have come together to serve a cause that transcends the ordinary—a cause that enriches lives and uplifts the human spirit. Rebekah Little, executive director of Bonner Homeless Transitions, encapsulates the essence of this relationship. "Kinderhaven and Bonner Homeless Transitions have similar missions: 'Helping homeless families and individuals, who are often domestic abuse survivors, achieve self-sufficiency and increase the quality of their lives.' The lease agreement for the home has continued to serve both visions, helping the underserved community."

The heart of this relationship lies in the nurturing cocoon of 900 Spruce Street; a place where miracles are unfurled every day. It's here that the transformation unfolds, thanks to the generosity of Kinderhaven Foundation, which has leased its facility to Bonner Homeless Transitions. A simple act of providing affordable shelter has blossomed into a lifeline for those on the brink.

Kinderhaven has extended the lease for a minimum of two more years, ensuring stability in the lives of those recovering from the depths of homelessness. This relationship has been a beacon of hope, rescuing the hidden homeless in Bonner and Boundary counties. It has provided a safe harbor, a place of refuge and restoration. One such success story is the creation of a space for group counseling and children's art. This space transcends the mundane; it is a sanctuary for expression and healing. Rebekah, with a heartfelt tone, underscores its significance, saying, "This space has provided room for group counseling for the women and space for the art for children, which is very important for expression and healing."

Beyond mere shelter, BHT offers fully furnished housing, case management, crisis intervention, and assistance with transportation. Residents, often emerging from turbulent pasts, find solace and support as they embark on a journey of self-discovery. This is a place where the path to self-sufficiency is illuminated, where the art of budgeting, parenting, and the gateway to employment opportunities are taught. Yet, the support doesn't end there. It extends to a comprehensive system of care. Bonner Homeless Transitions connects these individuals and families with critical resources such as food, clothing and medical services, ensuring their well-being during their stay. It is, in essence, a hub of hope—a place where life skills are cultivated and community integration becomes a reality. This is not merely a temporary respite; it's a path toward long-term stability, a journey from crisis to sustainability.

Rebekah emphasizes, "The most significant achievement of Bonner Homeless Transitions is transitioning our residents, families and children into permanent housing and helping them become strong contributors to our community." However, in the face of these remarkable achievements, challenges do persist. The cost of living, salaries, and the ever-increasing inflation of everyday goods and housing costs continue to pose hurdles.

Bonner Homeless Transitions is not an island; it is a vital thread woven into the tapestry of Sandpoint's community. The collaborative efforts between Bonner Homeless Transitions and other local agencies have been instrumental in serving the community's homeless population. Debbie Love at the Bonner County Food Bank, Angels Over Sandpoint, local churches, and organizations such as Community Assistance League of Sandpoint have stepped in to offer support.Their donations of food, clothing, toiletries and essentials have created a robust safety net for those in need. Rebekah echoes the harmony of this collaboration, "The good relationship between the two organizations, both of whom have similar missions, has been essential." It's a testament to the power of community spirit, where individuals, organizations and agencies rally together to make a difference in the lives of the homeless. Bonner Homeless Transitions relies on a triad of support—tax-deductible donations, community collaborations and grant funding. The organization's story is one of resilience and adaptation. In 2018, when federal funding for transitional housing services was cut, it was the community's generosity that filled the void.

Rebekah articulates the shift: "Prior to 2018, Bonner Homeless Transitions relied mostly on federal funding for its operational expenses. In 2018, Congress stopped federal funding for all transitional housing services throughout the United States. Since then, Bonner Homeless Transitions has solely relied on local donations from our generous community and internal grants written by staff, and local fundraising efforts. Bonner Homeless Transitions receives no funding from federal, state, local, county or city funds." This community-driven model is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of Bonner Homeless Transitions. It's an acknowledgment that a united community can overcome any obstacle.

Looking toward the future, the aspirations of Bonner Homeless Transitions are clear—continue the relationship with Kinderhaven Foundation, expand the program, and serve more. Rebekah sums it up eloquently, "Our goals are not only to continue to raise awareness in this mission, but we hope to expand the program to serve more. We have two lots available to build a four- and eight-unit complex, with the support of our donors and the sale of our Trestle Creek property. This will allow us to continue to expand our program and assist the homeless families in our community."

In every step forward, in every ray of hope they offer, Bonner Homeless Transitions and Kinderhaven Foundation echo a sentiment—a simple yet profound message—that by coming together, by reaching out, and by supporting one another, we can illuminate the path for those in need. The relationship between Bonner Homeless Transitions and Kinderhaven Foundation is not merely a tale of two organizations; it's a story of a community that cares, a community that understands that together we can achieve more. Their journey is one of resilience, collaboration and unwavering dedication to illuminating the lives of those in crisis. The relationship between Bonner Homeless Transitions and Kinderhaven Foundation continues to shine brightly. It is a testament to what can be achieved when hearts and hands come together. It is a story that reaffirms the power of community, the strength of collaboration and the resilience of the human spirit.

As Rebekah so beautifully puts it, "We are extremely grateful for the relationship with the Kinderhaven Foundation, which allows us to provide a safe place for those in crisis." Their journey continues, their light continues to shine, and the future holds the promise of even greater achievements, for themselves, for their community, and for those in need. Bonner Homeless Transitions and Kinderhaven Foundation have proven that, when we unite to address homelessness, lives can be transformed and hope can be ignited. They remind us that, together, we can achieve extraordinary things, and that the light of compassion and community can shine even in the darkest of times.

For additional information on Bonner Homeless Transitions, and to donate, visit Be sure to keep an eye out for BHT's two big fundraising events: Avenues for Hope in December and The Little Black Dress in March.

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