This April marks the start of "Lunch and Learn", a special program series for Anawim program tenants that has been created by our Supportive Services and Programs team. The selected participants are those that are most in need of support as they adjust to housing, as well as those who have been successful long-time program participants who have a lot to offer in terms of advice and positive connections.
As Anawim's programs have recently expanded, we have been able to provide housing to more people coming directly from homelessness. The process of settling into their homes with Anawim is also the process of adjusting to a new life. In doing so, they often experience a sense of isolation and disconnection. A common struggle we hear repeatedly from these newly housed individuals is that they are incredibly lonely. In fact, research has shown that loneliness and isolation is one of the biggest reasons a participant in a program such as Anawim's would not be successful in remaining housed.
To address this issue, we have put together a series of what we are calling, "Lunch & Learns". We have invited a small group of people from our programs to come to Anawim for lunch each Friday in April. We will serve pizza and provide an opportunity for people to socialize and connect. We also have scheduled different speakers for each session to provide information on a variety of topics, such as caring for an apartment, being a good neighbor, and managing your money. Participants will also hear from one of Anawim's founders, Fred Van Liew, to learn about communication, legal rights, and sharing their own unique stories.
Our hope is to provide a sense of community and support for our new tenants. If the response to the program is positive, we would like to continue and expand. Eventually, we would like to see the participants take ownership, providing its direction and giving on-going opportunities for connection, community, and leadership.