WHAT IF ?
What if ordinary people wanted to take homeless people into their homes?
Is this as hard as we think?
Could we organize a way to help each other do this?
Twenty-nine years is a long time to care for the homeless every day, and there seem to be more homeless people in need of shelter today than when we first started. So, what is the solution to homelessness, and what are we really doing to address the problem of people without homes? Three words come to me again and again as I conclude that in order to help some people, the helpers have to extend themselves beyond traditional thinking. We have to face the realities of sacrifice, service and suffering. Can we do this looking through the lens of individualism? Absolutely not! Do some of us with homes believe we have anything we can say or do that will help homeless people, or must we relegate the solutions to this problem to the professionals and the agencies? I believe that there are some people who want to do more and also have the will to try new forms of hospitality. Don’t we all want to love our neighbors in reality, and not merely in the abstract? Really, this is an old form of hospitality. Philoxenia—loving strangers. When Paul wrote to the Romans to “practice hospitality,” he was referring to a practice of taking travelers into the family home—of treating strangers like family for a day. Why is it that “the old way that is now the new way?” When did we stop treating strangers like family, and why? Maybe the role of organizations like Good Works is to use our experience and perspective to create new models for those who want to try things they have never done before.
So, here is a new idea for addressing the problem of homelessness: some people with homes, who have the desire and ability, should take homeless people into their homes.
(To read more about this vision, click here)