In January 2011, a group of friends began gathering at Hart Park in Orange, CA on the first Sunday of every month to enjoy chili and cornbread with 30-50 of our homeless neighbors. Since then, we have become friends with many folks who live in and around Hart Park, getting to know their stories through monthly food, laundry, or community gatherings. We’ve shared baptisms and burials, hospital and new home visits, and supported one another in everything from recovery to worn-out vehicles to university applications. While our activities have shifted from monthly chili to laundry and pizza at a local laundromat, our love for our homeless friends and our commitment to their flourishing remains unwavering.
Our goal has always been to show our homeless neighbors compassion and care in a practical way in order to remind them they are cherished members of our community. Cultivating lasting relationships with people experiencing homelessness has reminded us of their humanity. They are no longer nameless faces we avoid eye-contact with, or statistics to dump on another city. They are our friends who we care deeply for. Over time, we began wondering how we can become better advocates for our homeless neighbors, and Jubilee Homes was born.
Our name derives from the concept of jubilee found in the Bible, where debts were forgiven, the land rested, and captives were released to bring about restoration for the community. This once-in-a-lifetime event offered hope to weary people, who were released from the enslavement of economic servitude brought on by poverty, and were able to rest in their inherent value as image-bearers. Jubilee declares that no person is beyond restoration because they were released from their debts. Our organization is built on the spirit of jubilee, the premise that we can participate in releasing our neighbors from the cycle of poverty and restore them to economic vitality and social flourishing.
Image Description: Sunlight bursts through a tree on the edge of lake, with a picnic table nearby.
Ruth Choi, founding partner
Amy Kenny PhD, founding partner
Andrew Kenny, founding partner