Love INC - Homelessness to Hospitality

Love INC (In the Name of Christ) of Columbia is one of 150 local affiliates of a 35 year old national organization founded in 1977.  Love INC opened their doors in May 2008, in order to enable churches within Columbia, Missouri to better network their resources, ministries and talents to help those in need. The following story was provided by Love INC.

Everything in my life changed after I got in with Love INC.

Dorthea Cobbins, age 48, became homeless three years ago and found herself sleeping in cars, a tent in the woods, and on park benches.  Despite having a small disability income and nineteen years of sobriety, she was unable to gather the resources needed to obtain housing. 

After nearly giving up hope, doors began to open for Dorthea.  She learned that she was eligible for federal housing funds being channeled through Voluntary Action Center and she was connected with Love INC.   A housing coach helped her find housing and three Love INC partner churches provided funds to pay an old utility bill so she could get her gas turned on.  Once in her home, The Love Seat provided Dorthea with furniture.  Dorthea is particularly grateful for the provided bed which she describes as the most comfortable she ever had.  “I let my mom try it out and she said it was the best bed she ever felt.” 

With all the fears and stresses associated with homelessness removed from her life, Dorthea is finally able to enjoy everyday activities of hospitality and recreation. Since moving in, Dorthea has hosted her 96 year old mother for morning coffee and provided childcare for a 16 month old great niece on a daily basis.  A grandson who attends a nearby middle school, stops by every afternoon on his way home from school.  He is making plans to introduce her to the Activity and Recreation Center and spend time with her there.  Dorthea has even started a vegetable garden. She is a living example of how housing affects quality of life.

Dorthea wants to ensure she stays in her current house for a long time, so has enrolled in budget coaching.  She is so excited about her future that she has asked to meet with a life purpose coach for help seeking what God may have in store for her.  She says she wants to spend the rest of her life helping others and has been told she would make a great substance abuse counselor. Dorthea says now that her basic needs are met, a career seems possible.  Opening up her new home to family and friends is a start.

Dorthea thanks God for all these blessings and credits the prayers of her sister and Love INC staff and volunteers.  

With your support, Heart of Missouri United Way is able to fund programs within agencies such as Love INC of Columbia, Missouri. For more information, visit their website.