I have written about my weekly occurrences with the homeless in my community before but today I write with new eyes to almost the same situation I see weekly. Every week a group of friends and I head to a local organization to pick up food and then to go onto the streets and scout out those in need. It has been an amazing experience and although I am supposed to be serving and giving my all each time, I find myself always returning to my apartment happier, more grateful and as if I gained so much. Serving is a wonderful virtue to be able to partake in.
However, this last week before we split into groups ready to fill the stomachs of those truly in need, I learned of a new problem. The government. It seems that this “wonderful” and “unique” city which I live in has decided that it wants to rid itself of the “homeless problems”. Of course not all the homeless are good people. Some are addicts, ex-cons, and often deal with a variety of mental issues. But it breaks my heart to hear that our local government wants to deplete the city of all these people. Not all these people are that way. There are some people who are out on the streets because they ran out of money or because they were paying for their sons apartment or because they lost their job. Not all of these people have always known the ways of being homeless.
In fact this week, at one of the stops, one of the guys our group met had literally been on the streets for two days. He had never expected it to be this way and in fact, he said it should only be for another week or two when he will get his next check. Like that is CRAZY! I think its crazy because just three days before our government would have probably wanted him to pay taxes to rid the streets of the homeless and now here he is.
Anyways, it seems that the local government are trying to make the place safer, cleaner and whatever else but they are not seeing the root cause. From what I have learned and observed, the root cause is much deeper and bigger. The government should be trying to find spaces which are empty and useless and allow these to be open to the homeless. They should build showers for the homeless to be able to get cleaned up. If they did that, imagine the possibilities. Then the homeless could be cleaned and could be able to learn skills (if they are willing) to get a job, which would then provide hopefully enough money to pay for food or clothes or shelter. The key things is to not see people as problems. Why? Because when you start seeing people as problems, you become the problem in itself. G-d has commanded us to love one another as we would love ourselves. If we would not consider ourselves a problem, we should not consider those without a “home” any less.
That brings me to my final point. Homeless people may lack a permanent physical structure to provide warmth, protection or shelter but; homeless people are embracing the world as their home. I may live in a physical apartment complex and you may live in a mansion. At the end of the day, it does not matter where we live. It matters what we do with our lives. It matters how we make an impact for the better. How we try to bring glory to G-d. Well at least that’s my opinion. Just like Carrie Underwood puts it, “this is our temporary home”. Maybe “homeless” people just embrace the understanding that we live in a temporary home which we call earth.