Agape Love ministries was born out of a passion for seeing people's lives changed through the simple act of providing "a message and a meal." From the very beginning, the ministry has focused on the reality of the physical problem, hunger and homelessness, with the timeless life-changing message of God's love for the least of these (Matthew 25:40).
As a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) faith-based organization, the ministry has stepped up to address a root cause of homelessness, abandoned and abused children turned out onto the streets after residing in shelters or incarcerated in juvenile detention centers for most of their adolescent life. Ministering to the greater Houston Metropolitan area, Agape Love Ministries is dedicated to addressing the needs of these disadvantaged children who have fallen on life's path.
The Least of These
According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), at any given time there are roughly 3,500 youth 16 years of age and older in substitute care. Many of these children have suffered years of emotional, physical and/or psychological abuse, and after they have "aged-out" of the system are emancipated and turned out to the streets.
Unfortunately, these children do not have the requisite life skills or parental guidance to know how to provide for themselves and wind up returning to generational patterns of drug abuse, crime and ultimately homelessness or prison. In order to overcome this growing epidemic, it is critical to address this "life bridge" stage and break the self-destructive pattern that has been demonstrated to these children and help them successfully transition to a life of dignity and self-respect.
In an attempt to address the transitional problem, The State of Texas implemented a program in 1986 called The Preparation for Adult Living (PAL). The program is designed for youth between the ages of 15 ½ and 18, who are considered in the PAL In-Care stage, and allows them to enroll in a series of life skills classes. During this window of opportunity, the youth must complete all classes before aging out of care in order to receive a one thousand dollars Transitional Living Allowance. The allowance may not exceed $1,000 and, if the funds are available, the allowance will be distributed in increments not to exceed $500 per month.
In addition to the transition funds, all youth who age out can apply for PAL After Care benefits, which include assistance with rent, tuition waivers and educational training vouchers. After Care financial assistance up to $500 per month may be used for rent, rent deposit, utilities, and food/groceries. However, there is a lifetime cap of $3,000 of accumulated payments.
Where the Programs End the Ministry Begins
Over the past three years, God’s provision and protection have enabled the ministry to support and mentor young men to develop their life skills and confidence to become responsible, productive members of the community. During this time, the experience gained and lessons learned have prepared the ministry well for the planned expansion God has laid on our hearts.
Currently, the ministry operates out of two extremely small houses in the Fifth Ward of Houston. Once a strong community with a thriving business district, the neighborhood has turned into a notorious ghetto with under-served low performing schools, rampant drug activity, widespread poverty and a declining population.
The next phase of the ministry will be an answer to prayer and petition. By faith and through obedience, the ministry plans to build Camp Agape, a transitional housing and life development center to prepare disadvantaged young men to live sustainable, independent lives.
To accomplish this goal, it will require a concerted community effort. This effort starts with your prayers and support. Throughout the site, you will read about ways you can get involved and opportunities for you to make a difference.
Please join us in building Camp Agape. Through faith, hope and love, we will continue to make a difference to the least of these.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (New International Version)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.