Ripple Community Inc. (RCI) was established in 2015 and emerged from the on-going work of Ripple Church, a Mosaic Conference congregation, which worships and serves with people living on the margins of society in Allentown, PA. RCI is a source of friendship, support, and community for people experiencing homelessness or housing instability, people who are socially isolated, people living with significant histories of trauma and mental illness, and the working poor.
RCI serves over 150 Allentown residents each year through our two main programs: the Community Building Center and the RCI Village housing program.
Our Community Building Center (CBC) is a safe, welcoming, daytime space for our most vulnerable neighbors. The CBC also houses our Service Hub, which is a collaborative space where our partner organizations provide specialized services, including physical and mental health care, addiction and recovery services, and yoga. These partner programs are offered free of charge to all those in need and support the well-being of all our program participants.
The RCI Village is the first permanent, community-supported affordable housing program in Allentown. Based in 13 apartments located at Linden and 14th Streets in Allentown, this program supports individuals and families to transition out of homelessness and into safe, long-term housing, often for the first time in their lives. The goal for our residents in long-term housing stability, which is one of the basic building blocks of a good life.
Perhaps more important than what we do is how we do what we do. The most common words that our community members use to describe RCI are “safe,” “welcoming,” and “family.” This is, we believe, largely due to our emphasis on building relationships and our use of restorative practices.
Social support is a biological necessity, and so we take the time to build genuine relationships and trust with our program participants and residents. These relationships change us for the better and allow us to facilitate true and lasting change in the lives of our community members. We are inspired by the life and work of Father Gregory Boyle, who reminds us, “We do not rescue anyone at the margins. But go figure, if we stand at the margins, we are all rescued.”
Through the use of restorative practices, we are able to build trust and empathy within our community, and to mend relationships with harm is done. So many of our friends are living with a serious mental illness, the on-going impacts of traumatic experiences, and other isolating conditions. RCI has become a place where they can be deeply cared for, honored for their dignity and gifts, and not worry about being judged. We always appreciate donations. Please visit our website to see what current items we need. We welcome church groups or youth groups to serve with us and who want to learn what it means to work at the margins. Pray that our unsheltered community continues to stay safe during COVID, that more affordable housing will become available in Allentown, and people will experience freedom and healing from trauma and addiction.