End of year reports: Unsheltered International reaches out to the homeless, from Cullman to Philippines

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Unsheltered International will host a live online fundraiser March 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of UI)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Unsheltered International (UI) is a Cullman-based nonprofit evangelistic and resource ministry to homeless populations in Cullman County and other locations in the United States, as well as The Philippines.

The organization’s website says of its mission: “We bring HELP and HOPE to those experiencing homelessness and disaster by assisting the church in its mission to declare God’s glory to all people.

“We fulfill our mission statement through these programs and activities:

  • Resource clinics
  • Cullman, AL outreach
  • Helping churches start ministries to the homeless
  • Preaching and raising awareness
  • Rescue center and street ministry in the Philippines
  • Meal center program in the Philippines”

In 2019, UI made mission trips with 743 volunteers to hold resource clinics in New Orleans LA, Cincinnati OH, Baltimore MD, Augusta GA, Elkton MD and Bristol VA, offering haircuts, clothing, medical checkups, eyeglasses, hygiene products, help securing birth certificates, food, bibles and worship services. Through these, UI provided the equivalent of $57,882 in goods and services to the homeless. 

In the Cullman area, the group provided $12,463.84 in assistance to 167 clients-including food, clothing, hotels stays, showers and transportation-and helped three transition into self-supportive housing. Volunteers at UI’s warehouse put in over 1,200 hours of service. The group served 300 Thanksgiving meals and donated $1,200 worth of clothes to Curt’s Closet.

UI also operates a rescue mission and street ministry in The Philippines, serving almost 5,900 meals and providing over 450 free medical appointments in 2019. Through 15 regular feeding centers managed from an office in Talisay City and with an average weekly attendance of 482, UI served 22,472 meals. 

UI is an evangelistic ministry which saw 787 Christian conversions in 2019 through its humanitarian efforts in the U.S. and overseas.

The 2020 dream: a tiny home village in the Cullman area

According to information provided by UI, the organization hopes to acquire five to ten acres of land in Cullman County to build a community of tiny homes to house the homeless. The first phase of the construction plan includes four houses; one will be an office for the community, and the other three will be residences with baths and kitchens.

On Thursday, Founder/President Travis Sharpe talked about 2020:

“Things are off to a good start this year. Just this week, we have assisted three people who have needed help. Tomorrow we are delivering an old camper that we have fixed up to a homeless couple in Holly Pond so they can get out of the tents and car they have been sleeping in. So we have been busy with calls and outreach.

“Our focus for this year is acquiring the land that we are praying for so that we can begin phase one of the tiny-home village. We are trying to make contacts and get the word out about that need. It’s our desire to begin this year.

“We also have a busy travel schedule with our resource clinics. This year, our first one will be right here in Cullman at Temple Baptist Church on March 28, so we are excited about that. On Feb. 1, our team travels to New Orleans to hold our annual winter revival for the unsheltered.

“Also, our biggest fundraiser of the year is coming up on Thursday, March 12th. It’s our annual Facebook live fundraiser and this year’s goal is $100,000.”

For more on Unsheltered International, call 256-737-0112 ext. 180 or 256-841-5229, or visit www.unsheltered.org

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com