This article is dedicated to all transitional shelters across the country that strive to provide help to homeless people who desire to get back on their feet. (I was inspired by Ecclesiastes 3 during this period of mass homelessness.)
It was a time when multi-million dollar homes were being built on the hillside for the affluent members of society, while tarps and tents, cardboard boxes and dense foliage were arranged by the homeless to stave off the wind, rain, and cold.
A time when home prices soared to heights never seen before, while homeless advocates begged for funds to house those who had no place to call home.
A time when low-income housing was built, but the rent was out of reach for those it was intended for.
A time when a few servants of God came together for a common objective, while others walked swiftly by, fearful of being asked to help, annoyed by the thought and sight.
A time when hot meals were served to those who had no food, while others scoffed with resentment.
A time when these servants became a part of a viable solution, while others complained.
A time when the heckler shouted “Get a job!” to a panhandler, while the panhandler wondered where he could go to bathe and clean up for an interview.
A time when a few faithful formed a homeless coalition, while others stopped to take a look and wondered.
A time when a homeless shelter was built, and the onlookers joined together and volunteered their time and resources.
A time when high-tech employment opportunities abounded and the pay scales reigned high, while the homeless were left to ponder who would help them bridge this gap.
A time when employment development took on a new challenge, while homeless coalitions worked feverishly to bridge the gaps of limited housing and community services for those who were desirous of returning to the mainstream of life.
A time when the general public viewed the homeless as lazy, good for nothing hobos, while coalitionists burned the midnight oil in an effort to find a way to bring understanding to the public regarding the new homeless, and who they were.
A time when a few believers came together and said “What can we do?”, while the NIMBY’s (Not In My Backyard) bombarded the police dispatcher with requests like “Remove these people from my doorway,” or, “off my block.”
A time when the panhandler’s awareness was increased from “Brother, can you spare a dollar for coffee?” to “I know where I can get a meal, a bath, and a change of clothes.”
And now, it can be said that this time in the lives of those in need has been made better by the love and hard work of committed workers. Through their efforts, homeless people have both hope and a helping hand, and may no longer see themselves destined to be categorized as hobos or panhandlers as the public has labeled them.
Because of the committed service of volunteers and employees, it is a time when the majority, who formerly saw the homeless through narrow and opaque lenses as castaways, now see them as human beings who are striving to better their plight in life.
To borrow General Stonewall Jackson’s saying during the Civil War: “He who does not see God’s hand in this is blind.”
Seeing more clearly,