One of the blogs that I read every day is 4th Street Blues by Andrew, a schizophrenic who spent a few years on the streets and now struggles to stay sober. I try to understand how he feels in his circumstances.
When I was at the Kate Wolf Festival earlier this year, I listened to Utah Phillips talking about the homeless in his hometown,
This group built a help center with showers, washing machines, computers. They have a bus that drives around to the camps to pick them up. They have to have an alcohol test before they can get on the bus. All of the churches in the area agree to cook meals for them, but here’s the catch: the church members have to sit down and share the meal with them. This means that the church members must look them in the eye and have a conversation. No dropping the food off and running away. I’m sure this tests their Christian souls, but it means a real connection is formed. Later when they run into each other in town, they are more inclined to be understanding and helpful.
What a wonderful, humane way of addressing the issue. Most of these people have real mental and physical problems that caused their homelessness. They need some compassion and understanding, not a quarter.