Providing our unhoused a place for resources and a sense of belonging.
In 2017 my wife and I attended a health fair with our church. The event was held in partnership with a local shelter for those dealing with homelessness. What I didn’t realize was how the community that I served that day, giving haircuts to the men, would come to serve me back in ways I couldn’t imagine.
When I returned alone the following month, I started asking how I might help in ways other than placing food on their plates during dinner service. As I listened, the most requested thing amongst the community seemed to be clean socks. It was an easy enough request. So, I started stuffing paper bags with socks and bringing them with me when I came to serve once a month. I became known as the “sock guy,” passing out paper bags full of socks to the tent community in the alley behind the shelter.
Over time these men and women became more than just “the homeless,” to me. They became my brothers and sisters. Many of them with stories that seemed to mirror my own as time went on. Just as I began to think of more ways to serve the community – gathering donations from my friends, family, and local businesses – I started to struggle personally. Sudden onset of depression and anxiety made social situations extremely difficult, and an intense aversion to noises of all kinds further isolated me.
My marriage was starting to crumble and so was I.
Anyone who knew me prior to 2017 would have called me a happy-go-lucky, extraverted guy. A guy who spent his day hyping his clients up as a personal trainer; motivating and encouraging everyone I could. Suddenly, I was none of those things. Everything about me felt flat and dark. I struggled to find faith and my thoughts circled often around taking my own life.
The one constant that seemed to be there for me was the relationships I’d built at the shelter. These were people I’d met who had no expectations of me being anything I couldn’t be. And my mental health issues were often completely relatable to my friends there. I could talk openly without scaring anyone. Men and women who had no places to lay their heads at night, offered me comfort, unconditional support, and prayed for me more times than I could count.
They understood my isolation. They understood how life could go from seemingly “having everything” to having nothing. They understood wanting the darkness to just end.
What started as an opportunity for me to serve a community had morphed into real relationships. Reciprocal relationships.
I experienced what can only be described as miraculous healing from that season of my life. I’ve been depression-free since early 2019. But what developed in me during that time was a deep appreciation for people regardless of their status in life and a desire to give back to a community that is often overlooked, excluded, marginalized, and thought of as lesser.
The Restoration Project is a 501(c)(3) organization recognized by the federal government. Since its origin, TRP has served many oof those who are vulnerable and may have been forgotten.
Our Guiding Principles
We believe that every man, woman, and child is inherently worthy of being seen. That our time on this earth is precious and that we all have a purpose. To that end, we help people without homes or employment secure the necessary documentation to find both. And to be seen as contributing members of society again.
Living life without purpose often leads us into trouble. We get involved in activities that we shouldn’t, associate with people we don’t have our best in mind, and adopt dangerous habits to fill the void. TRP helps instil a sense of worth by teaching job & life skills to our sisters and brothers experiencing homelessness.
Our aim is to provide a judgment free environment. Lots of men and women on the streets have had to make difficult choices. Some which have led to crime or drug abuse. We aren’t in the business of “fixing,” but we are in the business of showing compassion through inclusion and developing greater purpose.
Most men and women who end up living on the street are without social capital. This means, that the natural infrastructure that most of us have (i.e., mom, dad, family, siblings, friends, coworkers) are for one reason or another, not a part of that person’s life. TRP’s goal is to create a family and friends atmosphere.
“The Restoration Project will be a place where the vulnerable find kindness,William Roos
warmth and compassion.”
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