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I'd Like to Help the Homeless

Discussion in 'Social Justice Ministries' started by SpiritSong, Aug 7, 2019.

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  1. SpiritSong

    SpiritSong The LORD is my Shepherd Supporter

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    My church does a bit of work to help the homeless, for instance, our weekly fellowship meal is open to all townspeople. Some homeless folks come to it every week.

    Some of them have come to our pastors asking for help also. One of our church staff mentioned to me not long ago that he gave a gift card (from the local grocery store) to that homeless person.

    If you have worked with the homeless, I would love to hear about your experiences. How have you best been able to help them? Were there any serious problems? How long have you been working at this? Anything else I should know?
     
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  2. devin553344

    devin553344 Enlighten our lives dear Lord

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    I work with my ex-brother in law who is homeless and have helped homeless in the past. I'm more cautious about helping the homeless now as a lot of them are on heroin or other things and can become dangerous. It's probably a good idea to have a church where they come and there are other people with you when you help them. Trying to help them by yourself can be dangerous. I know of one pastor that was axe murdered when helping a homeless man.
     
  3. Mountainmanbob

    Mountainmanbob Goat Whisperer Supporter

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    Best not to give them cash.

    10 dollar gift cards from Subway sandwich are nice.

    When they wanted one -- I always carried bibles with me to give away.

    M-Bob
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  4. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I managed the benevolence ministry at my Baptist church for several years.

    Dealing with those with life-needs (including the homeless) requires a mind-set which acknowledges that these persons often have a different way of thinking than more typical persons.

    For some, they are indeed, only looking for a one-time help with a need ... and you'll never see them again. In other cases, one-time helps can lead to a dependence upon that help which you are not able to sustain. I agree that these types of ministries are best carried out in groups, as opposed of individually, so that ministry partners can serve as a check on being drawn into such situations.

    Encouragement to more stability is more often than not, ignored or rejected, as petitioners have become used to a life dependent upon other, rather than themselves. And you have to realize that you can only do so much ... as the true needs of many petitioners exceed what you can do for them (i.e. they will be returning to life on the streets).

    One last lesson I learned while performing this ministry ... is to refrain from giving out your own personal information. Otherwise you will get calls, and/or perhaps visits at home, from those who are seeking help ... at possibly, all hours of the day or night.

    I have been the recipient of calls and visits in the middle of night ... from petitioners who somehow got my personal information.
     
  5. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Gift cards are a good idea ...
     
  6. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There is a program that has yet been able to get off the ground. Maybe your church can consider it.
     

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  7. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, they can be. It is good to get to know a person. Drug addicts and smokers and alcoholics can sell gift cards and clothes and even certain kinds of food you give them. There are people in living quarters, too, who sell their food stamps so they can buy cigarettes.

    The more you set up a way or a system for helping the homeless is the more certain ones can figure you out so they can use you and turn your ministry to their purpose.

    So, if you have a system or program, one-size-fits-all ministry, it is likely ones will learn how to work it while they keep getting nowhere. But there can be honorable and appreciative people who will benefit from what you do. And ones will deeply appreciate having you to share with them as Christian family. But if you treat everyone in the same generic way . . . based on some preconceived theoretical and/or emotional way of seeing them > they could benefit from loving you and praying for you, while you are busy with your gestures!

    So, I consider > find out what's really going on. And give out simple stuff so they aren't suffering so much on the street. But see how you can personally share with people to help them to Jesus so He is guiding each one personally. Anyone functional to get help can be referred to services . . . possibly, in your area. So, it might be wise not to try to rescue anybody. If someone is not functional to cooperate with being checked out and guided by professionals, it is likely they also will not do well with you.

    So, I would say get to know what professionals are doing in your area, and share with mature members of your church, who already have helped homeless people.

    I think it can work to get to know a person; but make sure you are around other people, in a program center where you volunteer, or a shelter, or bus station, or your church. I would not get alone or socially isolated with anyone you don't know. By socially isolated, I mean the person has more and more say and control about what you do. Make sure you are doing what you know God is guiding you to do; He does guide us to take risks, in order to love people, of course . . . but not what certain homeless people or others might say we have to do. It can be just like how a fake boyfriend might dictate > if you love me, if you trust me, you will do such and such.

    You do not need to trust someone you do not know. God has proven Himself to us; this is why we trust God through Jesus. You can expect someone to prove himself or herself to you.

    I have lived on the street, on purpose, in order to see what I could do for street homeless people while I as a Christian lived with them as their neighbor. Plus, now I share in a needy persons' outreach truck ministry in a city.

    And I would say people ministering act according to what they think they see.

    But if you do what God has you do . . . yes, evil people will use it in an evil way, while honorable people will greatly appreciate you caring about them. The honorable ones, I would say from experience, will mainly appreciate having you to love. And your good example of how to love while trusting God will do us the most good, with your prayer :)

    God knows you care; He will make the way for all He is committed to doing with you. And my opinion is this will be first with you learning how to obey God in the ruling of His peace in our hearts > Colossians 3:15 < so you discover what He really has you doing for all people, not only with attention to homeless people; because God is all-loving. And grow as family with Jesus people who are maturing and helping you to walk with God and love any and all people. And as you grow in healthy life as a Christian, this can spread to help all people, not only the homeless. Always be ready to love and bless and help any person who is not a Christian, because everyone without Jesus is not at home with God.

    While I was homeless, what helped me the most, for ministry, was people who simply were gentle and humble with me. They always knew what to do with me. We simply talked and sometimes they shared things with me or even took me to their homes. But most of all was their example of being humble and quiet and gentle and kind . . . how I could see I needed to become so I could share as family with God's people. What I myself really needed was to get into sharing as family with Jesus people.

    So, most of all is how you and your church are healthy in love as God's family, so you can adopt newborn children and care for them with good example and sharing.

    Each street homeless person is unique. So, if you are seeing them as a group, possibly you do not know what is really going on and how they really are. So, I would say trust God to guide you. And enjoy discovering what He is committed to doing with you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
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  8. SpiritSong

    SpiritSong The LORD is my Shepherd Supporter

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    Does Under Our Wings have a website? I did a bit of a search, but could not find it.
     
  9. SpiritSong

    SpiritSong The LORD is my Shepherd Supporter

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    OP here: I guess I should mention that I was once homeless, simply because I fell upon hard times. So MANY folks helped me out, as well as churches, that I want to also help others that now walk in the footsteps I once walked in.
     
  10. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No it is in its early stages.
     
  11. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Possibly, then, you were helped in a family way. Not only one person got isolated with you like some big hero rescuing you; but various people together who are family in Jesus, and maybe some others, got involved. And may be you were an honest person who had been relating right with people, but still got homeless. So, what could have really helped is how you were taken care of in a family sharing and caring way.

    But there are homeless people who are out because they are even horrible in how they treat other people. And they can be even dangerous. And there are ones who should not be trusted around children or women . . . or men. The cure of such evil people is eventually becoming family in God's love, and even trusted, but only after God truly changes them. You can't become a truly loving person without becoming caring and sharing and empathetic in family loving with children, seniors, couples, singes > everyone in Jesus.

    Otherwise, you are still homeless, not at home with God and His family.

    So, my opinion is you need to do things as Christian family in helping homeless people. And you need to make sure about who each person really is, about if and how you trust each one. It can, then, maybe be a good idea to just give certain people handouts so you do not get too involved, certainly not isolated with them. They are not all poor innocent victims, like you may have been.

    And yet > were there things which were your fault, if we may get into this? I know part of why I was homeless was my own fault.

    And if we are really going to help someone, the person needs to get real correction of God, in the process.

    In my case, I was a self-righteous snob, so I did not listen to people and I looked down on ones who were well-to-do and assumed they all were snobs. So, this kept me from accepting the help that I could get. And I see how there are people who are critical for nothing, do not care about anyone else, so God resists them to the street where they have more to be critical about. It's maybe like how God turned evil people over to slavery to their lusts for pleasure > Romans 1:18-32.

    So, your example of how to be with God and how to love can do the most important good, in sharing with your other Jesus family people, so you share your family example.

    But love is not a welfare system of requiring that only enough volunteers work together; you can have more people than needed for practical things. And you can bless people with more things than they deserve or need.
     
  12. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member

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    In our area of London UK, there are a group of churches that support a homeless shelter, as well as several churches that run food banks.
    Here because of the way government benefits are handed out those who want help have to go through the 'offical' benefit agency in order to produce evidence that they need help.

    It is worth organising the churches in your town to work together to help the homeless/in need, both to avoid duplicated and wasted efforts and to provide a structure that will provide a degree of protection to the workers.
     
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  13. SpiritSong

    SpiritSong The LORD is my Shepherd Supporter

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    OP here, I am a bit disadvantaged myself, but I am so thankful for all the help I get now too. I spoke with my Social Worker about all this yesterday and she suggested that We think in terms of helping them keep stuff dry too. So, a gallon sized ziploc bag was what she suggested, and to place in it the protein bars as well as a small pack of tissues, another one of wipes, some travel sized bottles of shampoo and hand lotion, etc.

    A friend of mine from another church said she would love to give them gallon bottles of water. I guess we all have some pretty good ideas.

    Now, how to organize it all?
     
  14. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't know so much about gallon-sized bottles of water, given that the homeless must carry all that they possess with them at all times.

    Perhaps multiple quart or pint sized bottles ...

    As to organization, perhaps you can put your charitable items in a backpack ... for ease of conveyance ...
     
  15. SpiritSong

    SpiritSong The LORD is my Shepherd Supporter

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    Most of the homeless in our town have backpacks, but you have a point on the gallon sized bottles of water. We will have to re-think that one!
     
  16. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla His little lady

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    I’ve spoken of my ministry to the homeless in the past. Here’s a detailed post about a group I co-led that bore amazing fruit. :)
     
  17. SpiritSong

    SpiritSong The LORD is my Shepherd Supporter

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    I have done a lot of things like this, just as one single person who cares. It used to be that there was one person in this small town that I knew to be homeless. He found a place to stay some 40 miles from here, which I was so pleased to hear about.

    Now there are 20-30 homeless, wandering around town with backpacks and seemingly lost. Some of them come to my church for our fellowship meal, so I know one pretty well in particular. She used to have her own apartment in a government assisted building. Then her son stole her rent money and she was evicted. (The son is a drug addict). She is paying $200.00 per month for a place just to lay her head. She is supposed to be on oxygen, but everyone in the place where she stays, smokes. So she cannot use her oxygen. Her health is declining.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  18. Newtheran

    Newtheran Well-Known Member

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    There is a documentary called "Seattle is Dying". You should watch it. In our egalitarianism, I know that we would like to think that most of the homeless are simply people who are down on their luck...and certainly while there are such people who have ended up in that situation because of circumstances, depression, etc...drug abuse and/or crime plays a role in a majority of such cases.



    This doesn't mean that you shouldn't try and help the homeless...you just need to engage in that effort with your eyes open.
     
  19. SpiritSong

    SpiritSong The LORD is my Shepherd Supporter

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    OK, so I watched the video just now. There is a lot to think about in it. One thing I can say is that I am mentally ill, but was not a raving lunatic, nor did I commit any crimes. I don't do drugs, nor have I ever, other than a bit of experimentation with them as a teenager.

    Much later on in my life, I ended up homeless. I was in my late 40s then. I fell on hard times. It was after the World Trade Center tragedy. I lost my business due to these things that happened that were beyond my control.

    It hurts me that people think that every person who is homeless has a drug habit and commits crimes. Churches helped me a lot when this happened to me. I want to help others the same way I was so lovingly helped! I'm not going to give up on this. However, I agree, I need to proceed with caution.
     
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