Laurie & Dusty Kirk Founders of The Hangar
Dusty and Laurie Kirk, both Military Veterans (retired), began serving the homeless in Waco in 2013. After serving in partnership with other ministries, they realized that they had watched the cycle of homelessness and crisis continue over and over again.
They had given to the homeless freely and joyfully (and what they believe is biblical), but material things didn't really change anything. It wasn't helping the homeless end their homelessness, and they worried that it could actually be hurting.
They saw the most significant change when the simply spent time with those that they were serving. Instead of handing out food, they sat down and ate a meal together, instead of giving out a generic "blessing bag" they asked people what they needed.
What people really wanted (and needed) was to have a conversation; to know that someone cared; to have an opportunity to express their needs; to feel seen; and to be heard.
being homeless is dehumanizing, and living homeless can strip you of your sense of identity, self worth, and belonging.
Over time, deep friendships grew with their homeless friends. They spent time having conversations, bible studies, and meals together. They celebrated holidays, and special occasions together. They walked through sad times and sickness together.
They became like family.
Dusty & Laurie began to pray about how they could do something more to help. Something that would really make a sustainable difference. They had experienced how God was already working through Mission Waco (and many other organizations in Waco), so they continued to volunteer, pray, ask questions, do research, and they sought out mentors who were seasoned and respected leaders in the community.
Ultimately, Laurie and Dusty began to feel a clear calling on their lives.
To provide a place where authentic, healthy, Christ- centered relationships could be lived out with their homeless friends. A place that they could invite the homeless to get away from stresses of homelessness, and feel the peace of home, family, and dignity again (or maybe for the very first time).
Of course, they also understood four major things:
It would be a big effort.
It would be expensive.
It would be time consuming.
It would require personal involvement in their lives.
But they felt that was exactly what God wanted them to do.
They didn't know how he wanted them to do it, but knew that they were not called to do it alone; so they consulted with their pastors who encouraged and affirmed them.
Then they began looking for a place where they could base their ministry from, and that's when they found this old Quonset Hut in the heart of downtown Waco. With the help of their church (Crossroads Fellowship Church) they were able to purchase the building. They had the zoning changed from industrial to residential, founded the non profit, had plans drawn for The Hangar Home, and began construction.
Their vision is a place where their friends who sleep outside can come and feel at home, and part of a family. A place where they can do the things for themselves that we all take for granted: make a cup of coffee, cook a meal, take a shower, do some laundry, watch a movie, and hang out with family and friends.
As humans, we all crave a sense of belonging. We all want to know that we belong somewhere, and family is the strongest bond of belonging there is.
With family, you belong on good days and bad days. Families hold each other accountable. Families lift each other up, and families encourage us to be our best selves. Family is having someone to love and be loved.