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TITLE: Homelessness: Ignorant or interested in it?
By Mark E Crossley

This article looks at how the church can minister to homelessness and what we as individuals can also do to help these vunerable group in society.
Your views appreciated please. Mark.
The world we live in today is changing and sadly to say for the worse and many people face a financial future that is quite often bleak despite any faith we have and some have the unfortunate experience of actually being evicted and forced onto the streets like in London where under Waterloo Station it has the nickname of “Cardboard City”.

Imagine giving your address as Cardboard City, London. Would you like that or to be faced with the thought of having no where to live?

There are two quotes from a couple of homeless people that I would like you to read and think about for a few moments by two former homeless people:

The first person describes “You cannot get a job if you have the wrong clothes for the interview and when they find out that you are homeless or in the shelter they find a reason to fire you”. Sad but true?

The second person describes “I stopped focusing on what the shelter was doing and started looking at what I was doing. I started seeing the shelter as a blessing. It was a place to eat, to get three meals I would not have otherwise had and a place to lay my head.
I was not letting my pride get in the way so I would go to the Salvation Army thrift store and get clothes and go and get that job. A lot of homeless people do not have the skills to get jobs. Now I am trying to develop a men’s class, be a coach being hands-on. Some of us have disabilities that won’t allow us to work and sometimes we are in places because we choose to be and there is simply no way out”.

What can we do practically as a church to help?

There needs to be more seeds sown in the hearts of Christians towards homeless people and as Leviticus 25:35 says “If one of your brethren becomes poor and falls into poverty amongst you then you shall help him like a stranger or sojourner that he may live with you”.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Are there any homes that are not in use in the local community where you live and there are people that need accommodation that the church can write to the council to house them short term rent free?
2. Perhaps you could buy the person a coffee, some chips instead of giving them money that they may or may not spend on something worthwhile.
3. Join with other churches and perhaps build a shelter next to the church if you have room, organise a soup run every night of the week providing free food, drink and clothing, provide free computer training courses in the church centre or perhaps free maths and English courses daily to assist them back into employment.
4. Look on www.bigissue.com and also www.emmaus.org.uk and perhaps as a franchise adopt these excellent concepts into your home country if outside the UK.
5. Are you a company or recruitment agency that could have a budget once a month for £1000 to offer accommodation, training, clothes perhaps? Is that an option?
6. Are there any other options that you can think of to benefit these people?

Is this Gods calling for you life?

I believe there are people reading this article that the Lord is sowing a seed of compassion, of creative ideas and concepts that HE will give you all you need to create a new ministry and the people required to minister to these people.

To have compassion, patience, love, understanding to deal with complex issues these people face which could be from mental illness, drug/alcohol/sexual addictions, relationship breakdowns, financial problems, pregnancy, and rejection are you willing to shine Gods love into these lives to see a difference for the Kingdom. Is that you? Is God calling you to this ministry today? Is God challenging you to gather a few people together and start a ministry in your area? Is this the start of something new for your life? If you were faced with homelessness what would want the church to do and how can you use this to the advantages of others now?

James 2 v 14 – 17 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food and one of you says to them ‘depart in peace’, be warmed and ‘filled’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”

Biblical Challenge

Galatians 2 v 10 “They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I was eager to do”

Therefore as believers we should be interested in homeless people, to have a heart of compassion, we as a church have a duty of care to try and eradicate this problem one person, then one city then one town and then in time our world will see a difference.

There are so many wealthy people, governments, empty houses and resources God has placed in the worlds hands after all everything is in Gods hands.

As the quotes from the homeless people suggest society rejects these people as worthless, lonely, failures and have no hope yet God loves these people, sees what he can do in them and use their circumstances to help others however sometimes they need help from others in order to get out of the destructive cycles they face first.

Therefore if there is one seed sown from this article who knows what fruit could come out of that person when God has his hand upon that person and the people who that person will influence for the greater purpose of the Gospel and pray God will give you the strength, resources and ability to fulfil this great God given ministry.

Are you ignorant or interested in homelessness now after reading this article?
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