How did your interest in helping the issue of homelessness begin?
Becoming a Pastor in a Church that found itself dealing with more than its fair share of folks who were homeless or unhoused. In the beginning, for me, it was an issue of someone getting tossed out of their family for being gay or worse being diagnosed with HIV.
How did you connect with A Home? I have worked with Judy Powell forever on these issues. Judy suggested I get to know Shelly and what she was doing. I think I recall coming on as an advisor and then joining the board. What part of being involved do you enjoy most? Seeing people successfully getting their needs met for safe housing. The community in all its diversity coming together to solve this crisis is an awesome experience. Is there something from your background that makes this an especially important concern? As a Pastor and community advocate homelessness and the unhoused are two issues that are often overlooked and often just explained away by saying the people affected are not working or have drug use issues. It is far more complicated than this judgmental simplicity. (Continue reading Pastor Paul’s full comments on our blog) There is nothing in all of creation that robs one of their dignity, self-worth, and self-determination like being homeless or unhoused does. These issues have a significant impact on the people involved and society as a whole - there is no one that is untouched by this crisis. The people involved usually lack basic necessities such as food, shelter, and medical care. This means that homelessnes
s and being unhoused can lead to complicated health problems such as severe illnesses and infections. Kids who are homeless or living in unsuitable homes face problems such as poor nutrition, lack of proper hygiene, and limited access to medical care. This can result in developmental problems and reduced academic performance. Moreover, a lot of homeless children suffer from anxiety and mental health issues due to the stressful nature of their living situations. Therefore, I cannot think of anything more important than this. Homelessness and being unhoused can have a detrimental effect on the economy. This results in increased healthcare expenses, crime rates, and many other social problems. Ultimately, homelessness can result in increased costs for governments and taxpayers. This can result in budget cuts in importa
nt areas such as education, healthcare, and social security. The lack of shelter and basic necessities of life can have a significant impact on people, children, the economy, and society as a whole. Finally, we are told in the Christian scriptures that God will judge how we take care of the homeless and the unhoused. There is not an intersection of life that being homeless or unhoused does not go through. So, in my life, it is of the highest priority to solve. Everyone is a child of God, created in God’s image, and deserving of safe and steady shelter Getting anyone off the street is an act of validation that empowers and lifts them up without judgment. To do this work means to build trust, respect, and understanding between the people and the community of faith, fostering a deep connection of agape.