The Ajo Federated Church is involved in a creative way to address the need for emergency short-term housing. A group of concerned people provides solutions for people in Ajo, Arizona, who find themselves without a place to live. This group grew from a need to find shelter for homeless youth involved in a GED class in 2012. Over time, relationships were established with local businesses, county government, civic organizations, and religious groups. In 2016 Sheltering Ajo incorporated as a 501c3, not-for-profit group.
The Sheltering Ajo coalition was offered an RV to house their first client about five years ago. The RV was placed in a space donated by the owner of an RV Park. Since that first RV and client, they have received one more RV and a space at another RV park, also donated by a park owner. Now they need to replace the first RV shelter.
These RVs are not a first option for people in need of temporary shelter, but they will serve as very temporary housing, just so someone can get back on their feet or figure out what their next move will be.
The Sheltering Ajo group helps clients with contacts to social service agencies that provide more support. The Ajo Federated Church collects emergency food items that can be eaten without much preparation and have the support of the Ajo Food Pantry when more food is needed. Another local not-for-profit, Ajo Resale, provides clothing and other miscellaneous items as does the St. Vincent’s thrift store.
Jeannie Morago, pastor of the Ajo Federated Church, finds herself on the receiving end of a phone call from the Sheriff’s office in the middle of the night, about someone in need of shelter. “It is sometimes tiring work, but I enjoy being able to meet people where they are, with love that comes from Christ.”