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ERMA – “God can do seemingly impossible things,” Pastor Tim West, of Seashore Community Church of the Nazarene, said, in a phone interview March 26.

Due to Governor Murphy’s order, the March 26 Homeless Seminar, hosted by Cape Hope, was canceled. West agreed to share new initiates to help Cape May County’s homeless population during the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to West, local leaders and church organizations are “working well” together, although more action is needed. Homelessness is often a product of a deeper issue, such as mental health and addiction, West said. Treating deeper issues is a long-term goal.

How can the homeless “shelter in place” when they have no shelter?

Although Code Blue centers are suspended until further notice, West said local hotels are being utilized for those in need. Homeless can call 211, the homeless hotline number (https://bit.ly/2Uq4sLX).

 Family Matters LLC, an in-home behavioral health services organization, is extending its food bank, according to West. He recently participated in purchasing groceries for elderly residents who are afraid to go out. He also noted that some confuse the term “homeless” as one being out on the streets or in the woods.

“Some are one relationship away from the street,” West clarified. Family and friends who can help can provide shelter and food during the pandemic.

 “We are only two weeks into this (pandemic),” West said, reflecting on how quickly the situation changed. Those who are helping and want to do more are on “standby,” according to West.

How can hope endure during the coronavirus pandemic?

West is drawing inspiration from a section from the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus forgives a paralyzed man and heals him.

“This (pandemic), too, shall pass,” West said. “Wait and see. You’ll walk right through.”

Denise South, director of Cape Hope, called upon local officials to take action in a recent letter to the editor (https://bit.ly/3akQRLo).

To contact Rachel Rogish, email rrogish@cmcherald.com.

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