Homelessness–What can we do?

If we knew what to do about homelessness, wouldn’t we have done it by now? I know that capable people know the history and cause of the problem; some may even have good ideas for solving, but those ideas can’t get anywhere in a Red Pyramid world.  Why should anyone desperate to have happiness in this material world in time interrupt that pursuit to help the homeless – especially if they think homelessness is a choice?

We have astronomical budgets at all levels of government. We see homeless people almost everywhere we go. So why no solution? Is it possible that insisting that every human being has the right to do as he/she chooses hides a deep desire to be free of responsibility for others? In the same way, some homeless people do live that way by choice, very consciously unwilling to take on the burdens of responsibility for “owning” a home. But this is a strictly Red Pyramid world impasse.

There are plenty of homeless people who desperately want homes, who want to work, and want lives full of responsibility and care-taking. And, there are plenty of people who want to help them. Fundamental in Green V world is the conviction that “love will find a way.” As ambassadors of Christ and the kingdom of heaven, we are free to apply our time, talents, and resources toward the solution of problems. The grace of God and our experience of that grace inspires and allows us to see problems as opportunities. We can and do begin to help the homeless in a simple, effective way by providing necessities to them. Concordia University Chicago used to pack meals and deliver them among the homeless (during daylight hours and with enough people in the van to provide safety). Others pack simple bags of basic toiletries. It is possible for the Christian community to identify people with all the various education, training, and skills to provide the medical attention and counseling needed, to find paths of training and employment, and even to find housing and communities of neighbors who would embrace and support the transition from homeless to homemaker. Whether in small ways or big, each of us can apply some advantage God has blessed us with to this clear opportunity to love our neighbor, safely and effectively.

As a side note, I conducted a thought experiment in my classes where I asked the students what they would think about making homelessness illegal? Their reaction was immediate and indignant, assuming that I was suggesting the prosecution of the homeless person. I am not. On the contrary, I am asking, “What if communities made it illegal for a citizen to live in a homeless condition?  Thus, it is the community that faces the law and the homeless person that benefits.” Communities have the civil means to fund, staff, and shepherd people through the various services needed to help them. Everyone benefits from the situation: those employed to help, the people who are helped, the entire community with now-restored citizens.  So why not?

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