Helping People Get Back to Life with Grace
Sarah Miller*, a young mother from Denton, found it hard to make ends meet when COVID hit and she lost her housing. She had no idea how she was going to take control of her life. Sarah had lost all hope, leaving her with no sense of direction. Things started changing for the better when she discovered Giving Grace, a nonprofit that provides individualized care and housing support to individuals and families.
Sarah joined the Shelter Case Management program. “The first night living in the shelter, I felt welcomed, loved, safe, and that everything was going to be all right. I was able to find a better job and housing,” she said. “Thank you so much, Giving Grace, for all the love, resources, patience, and guidance.”
Anna Garcia*, a young Dentonite, lived unhoused for many years. Seeking alcohol and drugs to cope with personal and family issues just made her life miserable. In 2019, Officer Scott Butler, his team, and Giving Grace (then known as Giving Hope) approached her and offered to help her get off the street. Anna wanted to get away from the drugs and the abuse. She earned her life back when she was referred to the PSH Program at Giving Grace.
“I am now housed, living in my own apartment,” Anna shared. “I continue to attend weekly meetings to keep myself on track and stay sober. I am currently seeking employment and options to further my education. I am also receiving care for my mental health concerns. For the first time in years, I have a healthy relationship with my family, which is very important to me.”
Giving Grace has helped restore lives for many people. For over 42 years, the organization has improved the lives of thousands experiencing homelessness and housing instability.
“I feel that the way our team of board members, staff, and volunteers love others the way that Jesus loves us is what makes the greatest impact on the community,” says CEO Michelle Conner, who’s been serving the community with all her heart since 2016. “We live in a messy, hard world, and I have learned that I will never be able to fix it ALL, but I can do my best to love the one right in front of me.”
Michelle is focused on the visionary project “Love First,” a community campus that will include affordable housing for up to 75 families in Denton. She believes Love First will provide a holistic solution to the community’s homelessness crisis and housing instability.
“Stable and affordable housing is vital, and we believe that transformation occurs in combination with community and relationships,” she added.
This year, the organization partnered with the City of Denton to manage 20 units at a local motel to temporarily house unsheltered families with their children. Several other activities are going on across the programs. Giving Grace was recently gifted with a van for the Street Outreach team to utilize for providing a mobile hotspot for clients to come and receive services right where they are.
Chief Programs Officer Elissa Polley says the increased housing costs are creating many more barriers for unsheltered neighbors. Landlords are raising rents, which exclude the clients from qualifying for a lease. “The cost of living, in general, is creating more barriers for our neighbors to get into and maintain their own housing, hence the skyrocketing numbers of families living unsheltered and reaching out for services,” she said.
The impact of pairing relationships and resources to assist unhoused neighbors to move forward is what motivates Elissa to do what she does. “Getting to work towards the mission of Giving Grace with the amazing team is a rewarding journey and always filled with adventure,” she said.
For Volunteer Director Susan Cousins, the most important thing is helping people understand they are seen, loved, and valued by God. “I believe that everyone was created on purpose for a purpose that only they can fulfill. When we wake someone up to that reality, it fills me up,” she said.
“I have been with the organization off and on since the ministry started in 2016. Initially, I remember sitting around Michelle’s kitchen table for meetings while our young kids played. We’ve grown so much over the years! I started as a volunteer & became an official employee in 2018.”
As Giving Grace continues to make the world a better place to live for all, CEO Conner invites community people to get involved. “There are many great organizations and ways to help those in our communities struggling. Learn more about those opportunities and find a way to love others in an impactful way,” she shared.
Check out how you can help at GivingGrace.org [*Names changed for privacy]