Thursday, August 2, 2012

Band aid on a bullet wound

I was sitting at the bus stop today waiting for the bus to Olympia and there was an old woman sitting next to me chatting to another traveler. She mentioned that her church allows homeless people to come twice a week for showers and a meal. I've heard of other churches offering the same thing or some variation.

But here's the rub:

A shower and a meal may not be what a homeless person needs.

I'm a college student. I am in no way homeless and I do not go with out a shower or without food but there are struggles. Money is a constant issue. For awhile, I was struggling so greatly with money that my bank account was always in a negative state. I was not able to work enough to pay off my negative balance AND have enough money to pay my bills. It wasn't until my mother graciously paid off my balance and I swallowed my pride that the cycle ended.

Pride kept me from asking for help. Everyone has a sense of self-reliance and that was slowly impairing my ability to provide for myself and my future.

There is a misconception about homeless people. I have seen it permeate the church. Homeless people are drug addicts, prostitutes, or have chosen the lifestyle and should easily be able to step out of it.

If that's true, what is a meal and a shower going to do? Band aid on a bullet wound.

Why would the church think a shower and a meal will set every single person up for success?
Why do we blanket everyone, diagnoses them as having the same issue and then use our solution to fix the problem instead of sitting down and asking, hey what do you need?
Do you need money? Do you need rehab? Do you need a shower and some food? What do YOU need?

I don't take the time and I know others don't take the time.
We are trying to solve problems with weak solutions.
Band aids on bullet wounds.