Find out more about our mission by clicking on the questions below.
* How did Mercy's Refuge get started?
It was during one of Kristie Adelfio pastor's sermons when he challenged them to go home and pray that God would give each of them a fresh vision for their life. (Acts2:17) Several weeks had passed after Kristie prayed that prayer before anything occurred. Then one day while she was having her quiet time of devotion and bible study, she got a very detailed vision of what God wanted her to do. The vision was huge and overwhelming; something Kristie didn't think was possible and knew she couldn't do without God's help. A few months later, January 2016 to be exact a friend asked if she would do a fast with her. Kristie agreed and asked God to use that time to confirm that the "vision" of what is now known as Mercy's Refuge was from Him. Kristie needed one door to open as a sign. The Lord led her to several scriptures in His word that lined up with what He was asking her to do. One of those scriptures was Matthew 25:35-36. Then two days before the fast was to end, she received an email from Community First in Austin inviting her to tour their Tiny Home Community. After looking at their website, it was everything she had seen in her vision. Kristie was excited to meet and talk with them about how to bring what they were already doing back to the Tyler area. Kristie felt like a calling had been placed on her life and that was the confirmation she needed. Doors continued to open from there. In April, after 13 years at the same job, God moved her into a position that would allow the time she needed to invest into this ministry. That also meant a daycare change for the baby. It was through his new daycare that Kristie met the lady who would walk her through the process of obtaining the nonprofit status with the IRS. That process started in May, and what should have taken a year or longer, God made happen in three months. In August we received our approval letter. God has continued to put people in Kristie’s path along the way including a very active and supportive board of Directors, with whom she has the privilege to serve with.
* WHAT MAKES MERCY’S REFUGE UNIQUE?
It’s all about a sense of belonging. Mercy’s Refuge desires to unite the community around us into a lifestyle of service alongside the those in need. We will achieve this vision through taking a relational approach for connecting with our residents. Once we bring an individual into a community with others, we truly begin to make a sustainable impact on their lives. Mercy’s Refuge believes that the single greatest source of hopelessness is the loss of family. That’s why our focus at Mercy’s Refuge is to do more than just provide adequate housing. We are developing a community with a variety of services and attention to an individual’s personalized needs at a fraction of the cost of traditional housing initiatives. We seek to help our residents experience healing and restoration while engaging with a broader community.
* IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOUSING AND COMMUNITY?
Mercy’s Refuge has a belief that housing alone will never solve homelessness, but community will. Most often, the people found on the streets have a regular, although dysfunctional, community, even though they have no houses or shelter to live in. We have found the main component that human beings need is human interaction; and human interaction occurs within community.
* WILL MERCY’S REFUGE PROVIDE PERMANENT HOUSING?
YES, Mercy’s Refuge will provide permanent housing. The intent is that any individual who qualifies can live on our property permanently, providing they pay their rent, abide by civil law and follow the rules of the community. We will however work with our homeowners through both in house and outsourced agencies if they are wanting to transition out to something better.
* HOW WILL THE TEXAS ZONING LAWS AFFECT MERCY’S REFUGE?
In Texas, there is no discretionary land use authority outside of municipal boundaries. “Not in my backyard” (NIMBY) resistance most often leverages zoning to discriminate against populations of people they would prefer not to have in their neighborhoods. Mercy’s Refuge will sit just outside of the City of Tyler city limits; therefore, there is no zoning. We do, however, have to comply with certain state regulations involving density and water quality. If you’re interested in understanding discretionary land use authority or zoning in your community, we recommend consulting with a land use expert specific to your state.
* WILL THERE BE COMMUNITY RULES AT MERCY’S REFUGE?
Yes, much like a homeowner's associtaion residents living at Mercy’s Refuge are required to follow basic community governing rules.
* What is a Tiny House?
A Tiny House is considered to be less than 400 sqft. They will be for single or double occupancy only. Designated for our homeless vets. They will include a bathroom, kitchnette, bed, sitting area, and porch.
* WHAT IS THE SCREENING PROCESS FOR APPLICANTS WHO APPLY TO LIVE IN MERCY’S REFUGE?
Each potential resident at Mercy’s Refuge will be required to complete the Coordinated Assessment intake, be fingerprinted and submit to a criminal background check processed by the FBI. On a case-by-case basis, qualified personnel will review the applicant for their compatibility with Mercy’s Refuge and the community at large. Registered sex offenders are the only individuals who are strictly prohibited from living in Mercy’s Refuge.
* WHAT SERVICES WILL BE AVAILABLE TO THOSE LIVING IN MERCY’S REFUGE?
We plan to provide a broad range of services available on-site to the residents of Mercy’s Refuge, including: A Church, a community center, a resource center, trade skills shop, classrooms, community garden, barber shop, resale clothing store, farmers market, soup kitchen, walking trails, fishing pond, health clinic, and dental services.