Supporting Beacon of Hope

We are all touched, one way or another, by the Beacon

Like anyone else in today’s economically challenging world, the Beacon of Hope is looking to be financially responsible and pay off its debts.

Being in debt is new for the homeless shelter for men located in downtown Fort Dodge, according to Executive Director Steve Roe. This year is the first time since the shelter opened in 2010 that it has owed money to anyone.

“I think one of our greatest accomplishments that we’ve done so far is being able to maintain the ministry and grow without taking any government money,” Roe said. “Which means that we are completely supported by the community and the people that believe in what we do.”

“In the beginning, I was told that it would never work, and we have been able to, for the past eight years, be debt-free with the Beacon of Hope and with our (Second Chance) thrift store,” he added.

That debt came from the purchase of the building on the southeast corner of First Avenue North and11th Street last year.

“We’ve been able to pay off a fair chunk of the building, but we still need to raise money to do so,” he said. “And so my biggest project is being able to pay off the debt that we have incurred on this building and focus more on the ministry at heart.”

The new building will be used to help expand the services that the Beacon offers.

The Beacon offers so much more than a place for homeless men to live.

It also offers food to people in the community, helps its residents obtain medical and emotional assistance, prepares them to find and keep jobs and have a place to help. It also reaches out into this community to educate the public about the issues and problems faced by the homeless.

Roe has said this in the past: “We want people to know that being homeless is not about people that are lazy and don’t want to work. About 85 percent suffer from mental illness.”

Just as we should not condemn the homeless, neither should we condemn efforts to improve services that may incur debt.

That’s where the community can step in, both emotionally and financially: The Beacon owes perhaps $60,000 on the building at First Avenue North and 11th Street.

The Beacon of Hope is a lamp unto the feet of so many who have, for one reason or another, lost their way.

Although we may not have personally used its services, we are all touched, one way or another, by the light it shines.