Have you ever imagined yourself walking through a period of homelessness? Everything you own packed into your car or in the backpack you’re wearing. No where to wash your face, no table or couch to eat your dinner, no way to bathe your kids. How do you tell your kids that you have to move around every day because we can’t afford a place to live? Maybe some of you have been or are homeless.
The book of Acts talks about the early church and how they brought food, goods, and supplies together to help each other out. No one ‘went without’ it says. I believe Christ established the church to take care of the homeless and broken and to give a hand up out of love… not to pass judgement, not to critique ‘The why’ of someone being homeless, nor to stand by in silence. Compassion is what Christ modeled for us.
I wondered what the data might say regarding homelessness in America, so I did some searching and here’s a bit of what I found from www.endhomelessness.org.
January 2017 Homelessness
- A majority of the homeless lived in some form of shelter or transitional housing
- 34% lived in a place not meant for human habitation
- 7% of all people experiencing homelessness were single individuals
- 3% were people in families (adults and children)
- 2% of people counted were veterans
- 4% were unaccompanied children and young adults
The good thing is that since 2007, homelessness has decreased overall and across every sub-population nationally by 14.4%. However, between 2016 and 2017 the number of people experiencing homelessness has increased nationally by 7% percent. The largest increases in that time period (2016-2017) were among unaccompanied children and young adults (14.3%), individuals experiencing chronic homelessness (12.2%), and people experiencing unsheltered homelessness (9.4%).
This month we are supporting a super cool idea called ‘Connections Shelter’ that’s being coordinated by multiple churches. Since finding permanent building space can be tricky, these churches came together and established a system where by each facility rotates weeks of caring for the homeless population in their city. I had the privilege to volunteer this week at one of these churches and I was so impressed with their organization and flow of the evening. From volunteer scheduling, to food preparation, to their hospitality towards their guests; it was an honor to watch and do my small part with them.
Check out their site: www.connectionsmankato.org
Here’s the thing – these churches are from different denominations, their theology beliefs are different, they have different opinions about stuff but they found a way to brush that aside and focus on the needs of people. They provide beds, food, games, friendship, and safety to those who need it most. I can’t say enough about the amazing coordination and love they have exhibited together over the past few years. Hats off to you guys and Thank You for following the Lord’s direction to serve others!
Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits and to participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.