“We are not individuals on an island, and we do not pick ourselves up by our bootstraps. We desperately need each other.” – Alan Graham

For my friends Emily and Kent, a friendship grew through a series of 45-second conversations held at the corner of Loop 360 and Bee Caves Road in Austin. Almost every day for several years, Emily, who was homeless, stood at that corner “flying a sign” and hoping to collect money for food or to pay for a cheap bed for the night. And almost every day, Kent, a businessman, would stop at that intersection on his way to work. He saw her, but wasn’t sure what to do. Should he talk to her? Should he give her money? What was her story? He was caught in what we at Mobile Loaves & Fishes refer to as the red light dilemma. You’ve probably experienced it. I know I have. You pull up to a red light, see someone standing there asking for food or money or work, and you aren’t sure what to do.

One day, Kent could no longer drive by Emily and do nothing. So he rolled down his window, introduced himself and then asked her name.

Soon that series of short conversations grew into a friendship built on respect, trust and dignity.

“When you know someone’s name, that changes everything. They are no longer a stranger.” – Kent Redding

Your support and generosity helped Emily find her way home to Community First! Village.
Like Emily, there are many men and women living on the streets who are trying to survive.

Through your generosity, lives are transformed and our homeless neighbors are lifted off the streets into community and home.

Donate Now
to Provide Relief for our
Greatest Need
Donate $250 Micro-Enterprise Supply Costs for Two Artists
Donate $100 Build & Sow A New Resident Farmer’s Garden Bed
Donate $60 Deliver 10 Meals to Our Friends on the Streets

As Emily and Kent’s friendship grew, they began sharing more time together. Kent invited Emily to his home and introduced her to his wife and children. Family dinners, gatherings and special events now include Emily. They attend church together. They talk most every day. They are more than friends—they are family.

With help from Kent and support from friends like you, Emily is no longer homeless. After 12 years alone and vulnerable on the streets of Austin, Emily now has a permanent home at Community First! Village. She has a job in concessions and catering through the MLF Community Works program. Most significantly, Emily has a caring and supportive community that includes Kent and his family, her Village neighbors and her new husband, Steve.

“This was truly the highlight of our friendship!”– Kent

“ They are my adopted family. If I need someone to talk to or if I need anything, I know they will be there for me.”– Emily

Our Resident’s Journeys


I'm really proud to live here.


Living here has brought change to my life, and now I am able to help somebody else. This is how to build a community.

“I was close to my dad, and miss him terribly since he passed away. Kent reminds me of him. There was no one else I wanted to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day.” – Emily

Hear Emily and our founder, Alan Graham discuss her journey, the power of friendship and home in her very own episode of the Gospel Con Carne podcast.

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