One of the first things that I was able to ask the homeless was, “What are your efforts in order to change the current situation that you’re in? What are you doing to change your situation?” And surprisingly the answers that I received from just about everyone that I spoke with said the same thing: “If I could just find a job, a place to live, and transportation, then things would be so much better for my family and I.” Now my question to myself was, “How can a homeless individual obtain a job without an address or find a place to live without a job, or have reliable transportation without a job to maintain the vehicle in working condition?” Good question huh? Honestly, that would be very difficult to do.
However, for so many people just the mere thought of looking for a job and depending on family to help them out with a place to stay or even transportation has always proven to be a huge challenge on so many levels. Don’t get me wrong now, so many of them have been very grateful for the help that they have received; but they’ve been taken advantage of along the way -from things like paying half the rent for a spot on the couch to paying a phone bill on a phone that they never use. And this is the major shocker of them all – the homeless have to suffer being treated less than a person just because they need help. Where is the logic in that type of help?
This was another concern that was brought to my attention. After talking with a few individuals, when they would go apply for assistance like food stamps or medical, I learned that some were told they could get the needed help if they split up from their host family. If a married couple has children, the government would be more eager to help if the father was not in the home. Our society really needs to change in a major way.
Heartbreaking right? Well it is. There’s not one person that is sitting pretty on a pot of gold. With the drastic decline in the economy, most of us are only one paycheck from being homeless. Without the proper agencies in place and caring people willing to help with these sorts of things, where does that really leave the homeless?
Let’s take a look at it from a biblical side. The bible tells us how we should care for and how we should treat one another, but instead we do the total opposite of that. Now Jesus being a King, coming from royalty, spent a great deal of his time homeless one could say. Jesus even spent a lot of his time with those that were homeless and less fortunate. Take for instance the Apostle Paul. He followed alongside Jesus very closely and witnessed and endured many things. In 1 Corinthians 4:11, the Apostle Paul writes: “To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, and we are homeless.” Now Jesus never looked down on them nor did he make them feel ashamed of their situation, he loved and helped them.
I feel the need to share some of my story of what my family and I endured during times of hardship, which was a reason I became so passionate about doing the work of God an being an advocate for these individuals. When I fell on hard times, having had family that could’ve done more, or even really helped, they did nothing! I was talked about, put down, and I became ashamed of my life and how it turned out, only because I didn’t have the things that my family and I needed.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that my family and I would ever become homeless, having the job skills we had and a college education. It’s just when jobs phase out, companies cut back on employees. What else are you to do? How can someone become over-qualified to sweep and mop a floor or work at a fast food restaurant? It happens every day. We’ve always opened our homes to family and friends when they were in need, but when we had fallen on hard times we endured so much pain from family.
Picture yourself being homeless, no job, and a piece of a car that needs some work on it and your family, who is supposed to have your back, are causing you a significant amount of misery.
After spending countless nights I wondered how, why, when, and what happened. I asked myself all the typical questions that everyone wants and needs to know about the trying situation that you’re in. Basically struggling for a couple of years, and even at the lowest point in our lives, we managed to produce several city wide events that catered to the needs of the homeless and less fortunate.
During our hard times, my family and I came across an agency that was supposed to provide the help that we needed, but in the end, they proved to be anything but that. While in that program my family and I became stressed and depressed. The conditions were downright unbearable to live in. That agency may proclaim to do a lot of good in the community, but in all truth, does the total opposite of that. Programs are supposed to be designed to meet the needs of each and every person that walk through the doors where they are.
That particular agency tried to make a person become a slave, because of their situation, with preposterous rules, telling them to disobey the family unit and not follow doctor’s orders. I saw so many things that were going on that nobody wanted to speak about; even a few of the employees would do things that totally undermined their policies. The policies would change every day to fit their needs rather than to address the needs of the people they were claiming to help.
The question that was asked at the beginning of this article, I actually had to ask myself that same question. God brought us out of it and I am eternally grateful. We all should treat the homeless and less fortunate as we would treat God. The bible clearly tells us that in Proverbs 19:17: “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. “
The same question that I asked to the homeless individual I then turned around and asked myself. So now with the shoe on the other foot here’s the same question. “What are your efforts in order to change the current situation that you’re in?” Well just as I thought, no one wants to look at himself or herself as being homeless, but honestly we can’t overlook it either. It is our job to care for these individuals, just as Jesus did.
Think of it this way… If God created Jesus, his only son, a poor and homeless person, then it is safe to say that God in actuality favors the poor and raises them. Looking back at that agency and the people that they service, it still remains that some don’t have a clue as to how they can even fight for their rights as a human being after being stripped of everything, emotionally and financially. Once they leave that program some are in worse shape than they were when they first entered.
Let’s join together and start lending a helping hand to our brothers and sisters. When we give freely without hidden agendas or wicked motives, we can bless others including ourselves. Just remember: God is always watching. We should do all we can and know to do to put a stop to this growing homeless epidemic, once and for all.
Writer’s Name: Ornitha Danielle
Photo Credit: Lee Taylor
Title: If the Shoe were on the other Foot