Helping Homeless People

June 19, 2019

Helping Homeless People

By Russell George

Many of our big cities are struggling with the serious problem of homeless people. They set up their tents on the sidewalks of the residents. They throw their trash on the lawn behind their tents, or in the street. Since they don’t have bathroom facilities, they defecate on the grass or in the street. It is an embarrassment to the owners of the property. Their neighborhood stinks to high heaven. All indications are that this is a problem that will only get worse.

Studies need to be done to find out who these people are and why they are without homes. Is it because they have little education and no job skills? Did they drop out of high school? On average, what is their G.P.A. (grade point average)? Do they come from broken homes? Are they lacking in motivation? On average, what percentage of them are drug addicts? How many have a police record?

What is to be done about the problem? Everyone agrees, they need help. But what is the best way to help them? Obviously, they need housing. That is the first thought. If we use government money to build houses for them, will they be able to pay the rent? Of course not. They couldn’t even pay the electric and water bills. If we provide it for them without charge, will they take care of the property? Most likely they won’t. Even renters of low cost housing often leave the house they rent a disaster. They stop paying the rent and have to be evicted after three or four months.

If we give homeless people money so they can rent a place to live, would that be the solution? For most of them, it wouldn’t be. It is obvious that many of them are using drugs so they would spend their money for that. Instead of buying their food, they would continue to ravage garbage cans for food or steal it if they could.

Sometimes one hears news commentators criticize the mayors of the city for not doing anything about it, but what are they to do? Any financial help given to them has no promise of being a permanent solution.

Their real needs lie within them. Just providing for their material needs will not be a permanent solution. If nothing is done to change them from within they will forever be a burden to society. If people have no initiative or aren’t willing to work, and they are given welfare money, they aren’t really being helped. What is it that they really need?

It is often said, “You get what you pay for.” It could also be said, “You get what you prepare for.” If we have made no preparation for a happy, prosperous life we have no reason to expect that we will have one. People need to be made to face reality. If you make no preparation for life, you will have a miserable life. To give homeless people a nice home in which to live is to facilitate them in their indolent life style. Yes, they need housing, but why not build them wood frame buildings like farmers build for their livestock? That puts a roof over their heads. They could be provided with men and women’s bathrooms and shower stalls with nothing but cold water. Some would object to that and say, “That would be treating them like animals.” But, why give them what they haven’t prepared for? To do so gives children and young people reason for saying, “Why should I make an effort to prepare for life? It’s the duty of the government to provide for me.”

If they need food, why not give them 50 pound bags of rice or beans? It doesn’t need to be soybeans. For centuries people have been eating red beans, white beans and lima beans. Why should they feast on gourmet dishes when they haven’t made preparation for it?

Most of the homeless people have their life ahead of them. They aren’t senior citizens. It isn’t too late to help them prepare for something better. We as Christians could take the homeless people as a mission field. We could offer them a chance to change their situation. The proper approach would be to reach out to them in mercy and compassion. Let them know that God has something better for them if they will trust in Christ for salvation and then surrender to God and let Him direct their lives. We could show them promises like those in Psalm 37:3-4. “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” God has the power to change people from within. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

If they surrender their lives to God we could make available to them what we could call “recovery schools.” There we could offer them a chance to recover the opportunity to get an education that they passed up when they were children and young people. The school would offer them food, shelter, used clothing, and help in getting out from under their drug addiction. To be able to stay in school they would be required to submit to the rules and authority of the staff. They would also be required to get passing grades in their classes. They would need to be taught to have initiative. They should be required to put in a certain number of hours of voluntary work in appreciation for all that is being done for them. If they failed, they would be put out in the street again.

They could be taught a trade so they would have something to offer the job market after they graduate. Few employers would even consider giving a job to someone living in a tent on the street. Once they complete at the recovery school, the school could give them a good reference so they would have a better chance of getting a job.

The recovery school should have a working relationship with a good local church in the area. All students would be required to attend church faithfully. The school would need to have buses to take the students to and from church. Bible classes could also be included in the curriculum of the school.

Businesses might be willing to donate food, merchandise and money to help cover the expense of maintaining the schools. Many people give to charity. Their donations should be accepted.

Seeing the increase of homeless people should be a warning to parents that their children might someday be among the homeless if they aren’t diligent in training them and motivating them to excel and have reason for living. Parents could point to the homeless people and say to their children, “You might some day be one of them if you don’t apply yourself to study and learn.”

There will always be those who refuse to accept help. If there is help available, and it is refused, we would have reason to say to homeless people, “Don’t blame us if we don’t help you. You had a chance to better yourself and you didn’t accept it.”

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