Homelessness is a weed that has many different roots in society: rising real estate market, poverty and lack of affordable housing, divorce/domestic violence and lack of family support, chronic health problems or disabilities, sudden job loss due to injury or illness, mental illness, drug/alcohol/gambling addictions, natural disasters. It plagues a good portion of the world. However, no one seems to take notice or even take a second to interact with the homeless themselves. The homeless population tends to be “invisible” because most of society does not want to see or even acknowledge the existence and/or plight of these people. They are an icon that reminds us of the contrast between the rich and poor as well as the fact that there must me some fundamental problem with the system when human society cannot support its own people. Discrimination, attitude, economics, greed and our own prejudices keep the general population from doing anything to alleviate this problem; due to this, most people will just walk past a homeless person on the street and act as thought he/she does not exist. This state of homelessness awareness and aid is the problem, for without us, the homeless population remains unnoticed.
- Homeless people are being stereotyped and overlooked
- Causes of homelessness: Rising real estate market, poverty and lack of affordable housing, divorce/domestic violence and lack of family support, chronic health problems or disabilities, sudden job loss due to injury or illness, mental illness, drug/alcohol/gambling addictions, natural disasters
- The homeless people are “invisible” because most of American society does not want to see or acknowledge the existence and/or plight of the homeless. They remind us of the contrast between the rich and poor as well as the fact that there must be some fundamental problem with the system when human society cannot support its own people.
- In America, most Americans will just walk past a homeless person on the street and act as though he/she does not exist. Everyone just goes their own way.
- Discrimination, attitude, economics, greed and our prejudices keep us from doing anything.
Christian Tradition and Vincentian Mission
- Gospel of Matthew – Such as the Jews who accepted Jesus, gentiles, outcasts – the new people of god. So should we with the homelessness.
- Jesus tells his followers to do something about the poor – “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.” Luke 14:13-14.
- “Love to your neighbor”
- God tells the Hebrew people to live in fidelity to God and to one another
- Take missions out to poverty stricken areas (where homelessness is prominent) and interact with them: feed them, talk with them, learn their stories and eventually befriend them.
Vincentian Tradition Response
- Bridge the gap between the world of the homelessness to the rest of the world
- “Zeal for souls” - Care for salvation of neighbor
- “Deep care and love for the poor
- Main goal: Help the poor
- Mortification and self renunciation – No materialistic distractions
- Faith moving to service
- Individual missions, interaction with poor - Hands on. –Missionary Type
Vincentian Values and Principles
- Essential Virtues: Humility, Simplicity, Zeal, Mortification, Meekness
- Action oriented spirituality: Faith moving to service
- Building a “bridge” to the world of the poor
- Integration of the missionary and contemplative type
- “Life must expand through action”
- Individual effort on a social issue: in order to make the homeless visible, change must be start within our self. Each of us should take aware of his one action toward the poor.
- Creating interaction: this will help us see the reality and change the way we pursue the homeless. Build a bridge of connection with the homeless through community service, midnight run or other services that require special care of the homeless.
- Social Media: a very good instrument in the 20-century that can draw people attention on the issue, throughout the campaign.
- Give them opportunity: show them that they can succeed just like everyone.
Example of the Advantage Academy that gives subsides house, free education, and financial health.
- Community service: doing community service will prevent the homeless invisibility
- Treat the homeless with respect