by Steve Blanchard, Associate Pastor, Christian
Please understand that I cannot fully explain homelessness. First of all,
I have never been homeless. Second, the reasons for homelessness are varied
and complex. And third, trying to capture, identify, and rationalize human
behavior and all the baggage that precedes an action or contributes to a
lifestyle, chosen or otherwise, is, well, impossible, or at least, arrogant.
Therefore, I will attempt to make you better aware of the problem and
address some of your pre-conceived ideas and notions.
a national problem. In Richmond alone, there are an estimated 1500 homeless
persons. Through eviction, medical or emotional emergencies, results of
divorce or abuse, loss of employment, etc… many people become homeless,
however, most are in this situation for a temporary period of time They are
able to draw on the support of family and friends or from the network of
service providers that address such issues.
But what about those
with unstable or unreliable support structures or those with no support
structure at all? What about those who, because of previous choices or
situations, have “burned all their bridges”? Who helps them? When the
attitude of many people is complacency or prejudice or superiority, how can
those who need help get it? For many, it is a vicious circle of battered
self-esteem, depression, and hopelessness.
The homeless are often
described as addicts, criminals, scary, dishonest, crazy, and aggressive.
These often applied, but often misinformed terms, prevent many from getting
involved and helping improve the lives of these children of God.
Homelessness is a condition, sometimes chosen, directly or indirectly, and
sometimes forced upon people just like you and me in many respects. In many
situations, people are unable to help themselves find a remedy to their
dilemma. Maybe they do not have the skills, finances, or support to “pull
themselves up by the bootstraps” and better themselves and their situation.
The good news is there are resources available to help, though not always
easy to navigate. For a list of some of those resources,
You can help make a difference.