Editorial: Keeping families together, without your tax dollars

There are wonderful charities in the metro area that work to help those residents who find themselves homeless, a blessing as the causes and the fallout are so varied. But one of those charities, in fact the largest shelter in the state, stands out because:

1. It keeps families – husbands and wives, partners, parents and children – together;

2. It does it without accepting government money.

Consider how awful it would be to not have a place to call home. How terrible it would be to be torn from your family, however you define it. Now put those together.

Jeremy Reynalds did 30 years ago this month. The Bible college student, failed corrections officer and one-time Christian coffee-shop owner wanted to provide “a safe place where an entire family could stay together during one of the worst times in their lives.”

And while not every person who finds themselves homeless and needing help will want to avail themselves to Reynalds’ Christian proselytizing, Reynalds fills an important need without furthering a nanny-state mentality in which tax dollars and their resultant bureaucracies are the only way to help people.

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Apparently many donors agree. Joy Junction started as a renter of a closed Catholic boarding school. It now owns a 52-acre site that can shelter up to 300 people and spends all but 4 percent of its annual $4.5 million budget – that is based primarily on in-kind donations – on its clients.

Joy Junction will celebrate serving the community for 30 years from 4-7 p.m. July 14 in the Casa Blanca Room at Hotel Andaluz. Reservations, required by noon today, can be made by calling 217-9586.

Homelessness is a difficult problem for society to solve, in great part because its causes are so diverse. Having a shelter that has not only survived but thrived in the Metro area for three decades without government assistance sets a positive example for clients and critics alike.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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