HOPE FOR THE HOMELESS
And so the question arises: “Is there hope in the world?” And if so, where can it be found?
For most of us, the answer is an easy one as we look for inspiration and hope from God, our political and religious leaders, celebrities, churches, synagogues, or even our families and friends. But what if you were homeless? What if you woke up every single day helpless, hopeless, and homeless, with seemingly no access to any of these resources? If you were homeless, where would you look for hope? But I’m getting ahead of myself…
WORLD HOMELESS DAY
This Sunday, October 10, 2021, is World Homeless Day. Depending on who you ask, it is estimated that as many as 150 million people are homeless worldwide and 1.6 billion people around the world live in inadequate shelter. Here in our own backyard, there are well over 1,000 persons living along the FM 1960 corridor between highways I-45 and 249 experiencing homelessness in Northwest Houston, a number that has grown even larger during the Covid 19 pandemic. But there is hope…
HOPE CENTER HOUSTON
For late in the summer of 2015, little did anyone realize that the man charging his cell phone on the steps of our very own Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church was actually planting a seed. A seed of faith. A seed of hope. A seed that once planted, watered, and nurtured would grow to become the 1960 Hope Center, known today as Hope Center Houston. And that’s exactly what happened.
You see, this man, a homeless man, was to lead us across the street, quite literally across the street from the church to the woods where much to everyone’s surprise was revealed an entire encampment of people. An encampment of homeless people, some living in tents, but all living in squalor, completely out of sight, but right under everyone’s noses for quite some time. And so, it began…
WHO ARE THE HOMELESS?
And who are the homeless? What do they look like? I do not need to list the long litany of stereotypes. You already know them. But it may surprise you to learn that many of them look just like Jesus. After all, not only was Jesus born into a homeless family, but he also lived most of his adult life sleeping in the highways and byways of life, under the stars, in the fields, and in the woods. In the end, the homeless, but for the grace of God, also look just like you and me. They are our friends, neighbors, and sometimes even members of our very own family. They are our brothers and sisters. They are the “least of these” spoken of in Matthew 25.
I now return full circle to the original question that I asked: “Is there hope in the world?” Yes! But for the important work at Hope Center Houston to continue we need your prayers, your time, your donations, and your generosity. In other words. We need you!
Like to learn even more? There is no shortage of ministries, social agencies, churches, non-profits, and individuals dedicated to serving the needs of men, women, and even children that most people commonly refer to as “the homeless.” Most everyone acknowledges the problem, and even desire to help, but are at a loss of where to go or how to help. Knowledge is power.
A good place to begin if you want to learn about the worldwide problem we call homelessness is World Homeless Day. There you will learn about the annual, worldwide event that occurs on October 10 each year. Want to learn how to help locally, here in Harris County? Visit the Coalition for the Homeless. Really want to help at the grassroots level right here in own our backyard? First, visit the Hope Center Houston website, then call to schedule a personal tour of our state-of-the-art facility where every week, Monday-Friday, even during a world pandemic, we are providing for the basic needs of our homeless friends in Northwest Houston. Enjoy watching our short video here.
Brother Allen White, OSF, is the Executive Director of Hope Center Houston, and a staff member at Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church where he serves as Lay Worship & Pastoral Care Associate.