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Please Explain HOMELESSNESS

by Steve Blanchard, Associate Pastor, Christian Compassion

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.

Homelessness is 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, click here….

You can help make a difference.

 
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