I thought I would share with you what we do as a family each week to help the poor. This is our life passion...our mission field. Each week our family goes to an area where about 50 homeless folks hang around. We count it a blessing to spend time with these folks and look forward to it each week. It is through Gods provision that we are able to minister to practical needs as well as spiritual. We spend time in prayer with them, encouraging, planting "seeds" of hope and Gods love. Many have come to know the Lord. We have been so blessed by donations of clothes, food, and personal hygien products for the homeless. I even get boxes of stuff from across the country! Currently we are doing a bike drive. Many homeless do have jobs and a bike is needed to help them get to work. So that is what we do. I wish I could share a picture or two with you but these folks prefer privacy for many different reasons.
Statistics on Homeless in America:
Daily there are an estimated 800,000 homeless in America. The actual annual count only counts the homeless that can access a shelter. That one night count in 2007 was 146,698,90
Yearly 2.3 to 3.5 million people in America experience a period of homelessness.
A high house market coupled with low wage earning, loss of jobs, mental illness, addictions, account for most of the homeless.
In our area 45 percent of the homeless are fully employed. The waiting list for low income housing and emergency assistance is very long.
We are becoming more active in the political side of homelessness. I find all the paperwork and rules just confusing. For instance to get into a low income house you have to have good credit and a steady job. IF you are homeless you generally do not have one or the other of these. There is a great need for "halfway homes" for folks who need help with finances, addictions, mental illness. Most shelters will not take folks who are drinking or on drugs. That is the group we minister to the most.
This past week we had sad news ( we always dread that this may happen). One of the homeless was robbed and killed. They do get robbed all the time but generally that is all. So it was a sad day amongst the homeless community/family.
Well I have rambled on...
I encourage to to look into your own communities and see what is done for the homeless and working poor. Something as simple as a bottle of water, a snack bar, and a smile can start a relationship that leads that person to the Lord.