[Hpn] Nonprofit formed to help homeless

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Mon, 03 Dec 2007 21:54:58 -0500


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http://www.uniondemocrat.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=3D25141

Nonprofit formed to help homeless

Published: December 3, 2007



By ALISHA WYMAN=20

The Union Democrat=20


A new nonprofit organization seeking to start a shelter for the homeless =
is launching as winter sets in and a homeless camp on Stockton Road =
closes.=20

Father Wolfgang Krismanits of St. James Anglican Church in Sonora is =
spearheading Lighthouse Ministries, which is raising money to purchase =
property for the new building.=20

Eight area churches formed the organization's board, which started =
meeting informally in June.=20

The board's first formal meeting was Thursday.=20

The group is hoping to get pledges from area churches for the cost to =
lease or construct a building.=20

"With the cold weather coming in, we need a place as soon as possible to =
try to house some of these people," Krismanits said.=20

Sonora police recently evicted dozens of homeless people camping off of =
Stockton Road due to a Bureau of Land Management rule that allows =
camping only for up to 14 days.=20

Lighthouse Ministries' goal is to first start an emergency shelter, with =
plans to later provide longer-term transitional housing that would =
include job training and other resources.=20

The seeds of the idea were sown last November, after the church opened =
its doors 24-hours-a-day for prayer.=20

People began to enter not only to pray, but to escape from the cold at =
night.=20

Homelessness is something that has made an impression on Krismanits in =
the 18 years he has been in Sonora.=20

"It's really been painful for me over the years to see people coming by =
needing shelter, and I can't help them, knowing they're going to go out =
and spend a 30-degree night," he said.=20

After he went to a retreat last November, he said, he felt God calling =
him to help.=20

Church officials began allowing people to sleep in the Parish Hall. They =
began offering food, allowing them to stay from about 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. =
each day.=20

The ministry grew, with as many as 18 people sleeping in the church, =
some staying several months.=20

Jason Gibson, 32, was among those who sought shelter at the church.=20

Krismanits and others helped Gibson, who has mental disabilities, to get =
back on his medications and find some stability, Gibson said. Since =
then, he has stopped doing recreational drugs, started working in =
fencing and construction, and is living with his parents temporarily at =
Lake Don Pedro.=20

"I always knew that there was a God and everything, but with the church =
I actually found God," he said.=20

Gibson would like to become an ordained priest and is working with =
Krismanits to begin his training. He is looking for a job in Sonora so =
he can be closer to the church.=20

The housing offered at the church is no longer available, however, after =
a complaint spurred an inspection by county and fire authorities.=20

The church building doesn't meet the codes that would allow people to =
stay overnight.=20

It still operates a weekly food pantry, which feeds about 600 people per =
month and provides tents for the homeless who camp out, Krismanits said. =


The building's closure to the homeless didn't end the pastor's efforts, =
though.=20

Krismanits turned his efforts toward forming a nonprofit organization =
with the idea of finding a permanent building.=20

In looking for properties, however, he has run into some road blocks. An =
ideal location has eluded the board thusfar.=20

The former Tuolumne General Hospital is still being used as a medical =
facility. The old Sonora Community Hospital is also unavailable due to =
lack of insurance.=20

Organizers say they also must consider their neighbors when placing the =
shelter.=20

"There's fear about being around people that make you uncomfortable, who =
you don't understand," Krismanits said.=20

But he is determined to help the less fortunate.=20

"That's really the Gospel," he said. "That's really what churches ought =
to do."=20


Contact Alisha Wyman at awyman@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4527

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<P class=3Dheadline><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://www.uniondemocrat.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=3D25141">htt=
p://www.uniondemocrat.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=3D25141</A></FONT></P>
<P class=3Dheadline>Nonprofit formed to help homeless</P>
<P class=3Dsummary><B>Published: December 3, 2007</B></P><SPAN =
class=3Dtext>
<P>
<P>
<P>By ALISHA WYMAN=20
<P>The Union Democrat=20
<P>
<P>A new nonprofit organization seeking to start a shelter for the =
homeless is=20
launching as winter sets in and a homeless camp on Stockton Road closes. =

<P>Father Wolfgang Krismanits of St. James Anglican Church in Sonora is=20
spearheading Lighthouse Ministries, which is raising money to purchase =
property=20
for the new building.=20
<P>Eight area churches formed the organization's board, which started =
meeting=20
informally in June.=20
<P>The board's first formal meeting was Thursday.=20
<P>The group is hoping to get pledges from area churches for the cost to =
lease=20
or construct a building.=20
<P>"With the cold weather coming in, we need a place as soon as possible =
to try=20
to house some of these people," Krismanits said.=20
<P>Sonora police recently evicted dozens of homeless people camping off =
of=20
Stockton Road due to a Bureau of Land Management rule that allows =
camping only=20
for up to 14 days.=20
<P>Lighthouse Ministries' goal is to first start an emergency shelter, =
with=20
plans to later provide longer-term transitional housing that would =
include job=20
training and other resources.=20
<P>The seeds of the idea were sown last November, after the church =
opened its=20
doors 24-hours-a-day for prayer.=20
<P>People began to enter not only to pray, but to escape from the cold =
at night.=20

<P>Homelessness is something that has made an impression on Krismanits =
in the 18=20
years he has been in Sonora.=20
<P>"It's really been painful for me over the years to see people coming =
by=20
needing shelter, and I can't help them, knowing they're going to go out =
and=20
spend a 30-degree night," he said.=20
<P>After he went to a retreat last November, he said, he felt God =
calling him to=20
help.=20
<P>Church officials began allowing people to sleep in the Parish Hall. =
They=20
began offering food, allowing them to stay from about 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. =
each day.=20

<P>The ministry grew, with as many as 18 people sleeping in the church, =
some=20
staying several months.=20
<P>Jason Gibson, 32, was among those who sought shelter at the church.=20
<P>Krismanits and others helped Gibson, who has mental disabilities, to =
get back=20
on his medications and find some stability, Gibson said. Since then, he =
has=20
stopped doing recreational drugs, started working in fencing and =
construction,=20
and is living with his parents temporarily at Lake Don Pedro.=20
<P>"I always knew that there was a God and everything, but with the =
church I=20
actually found God," he said.=20
<P>Gibson would like to become an ordained priest and is working with =
Krismanits=20
to begin his training. He is looking for a job in Sonora so he can be =
closer to=20
the church.=20
<P>The housing offered at the church is no longer available, however, =
after a=20
complaint spurred an inspection by county and fire authorities.=20
<P>The church building doesn't meet the codes that would allow people to =
stay=20
overnight.=20
<P>It still operates a weekly food pantry, which feeds about 600 people =
per=20
month and provides tents for the homeless who camp out, Krismanits said. =

<P>The building's closure to the homeless didn't end the pastor's =
efforts,=20
though.=20
<P>Krismanits turned his efforts toward forming a nonprofit organization =
with=20
the idea of finding a permanent building.=20
<P>In looking for properties, however, he has run into some road blocks. =
An=20
ideal location has eluded the board thusfar.=20
<P>The former Tuolumne General Hospital is still being used as a medical =

facility. The old Sonora Community Hospital is also unavailable due to =
lack of=20
insurance.=20
<P>Organizers say they also must consider their neighbors when placing =
the=20
shelter.=20
<P>"There's fear about being around people that make you uncomfortable, =
who you=20
don't understand," Krismanits said.=20
<P>But he is determined to help the less fortunate.=20
<P>"That's really the Gospel," he said. "That's really what churches =
ought to=20
do."=20
<P>
<P>Contact Alisha Wyman at awyman@uniondemocrat.com or=20
588-4527</P></SPAN></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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