Journey Into the Brokenness of Hunger

by Christine Sine

We are now moving into the third week of Lent and so my thoughts are turning to our week’s challenge from the MSA Lenten Guide to reflect on and get involved in the brokenness of homelessness.  

Homelessness is a huge and complex challenge throughout our world.  UN Habitat’s 2005 report indicates that over one billion of the world’s six billion residents live in inadequate housing, mostly in the sprawling slums and squatter settlements in developing countries.  They estimate that by 2050 this could rise to 3 billion people.

In the US an estimated four to five million people go homeless each year.  In Australia an estimated 100,000 are homeless and in Britain 100,000 households live in temporary accommodation and of course with the current recession these numbers are on the increase all over the world.  Millions of others live without a safety net and constantly struggle with the knowledge that loss of a job or serious illness could quickly push them onto the streets.  

To highlight this issue I thought that you might like to read the following articles that suggest both the enormity of the problem and the creative ways in which some faith groups are responding.  the problem is daunting but we can all make a difference.  

This from the Herald Tribune: 

As the recession has deepened, long-time workers who lost their jobs are facing the terror and stigma of homelessness for the first time, including those who have owned or rented for years. Some show up in shelters and on the streets, but others, like the Hayworths, are the hidden homeless — living doubled up in apartments, in garages or in motels, uncounted in U.S. homeless data and often receiving little public aid.  read the entire article

And here a creative response by the Interfaith Hospitality Network

In response to this crisis, the Interfaith Hospitality Network brings the faith community together to help families regain their housing, their independence, and their dignity.  IHN is a partnership of congregations within a community helping families who are facing homelessness.  It offers an opportunity for volunteers of all faiths to reduce homelessness and transform lives.  read the entire article

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0 comment

Pat Lasusky March 12, 2009 - 9:09 pm

Thank you for introducing your readers to the deep spirituality of caring for the homeless. My first exposure to working with the homeless was in outreach to those who were living on the streets. But the ranks of the homeless include more than the stereotypical “street person”. As a social worker at an Interfaith Hospitality Network, I am constantly educating people on the hidden homeless: the families who are “couch surfing” week by week, families living in one room at a motel, families in cars. These are often the working poor, trying to manage as best they can. Some are young parents who have made some mistakes, or who never got the guidance they needed to be more successful. Some are older parents, displaced from a job or a home, and unable to get back on their feet without a helping hand. When I think of our churches opening their doors to the homeless, I think of the woman who broke the alabaster jar of precious nard so she could anoint the feet of Jesus. We have such an opportunity to experience what we “do for” others in a deeper way, if we truly take it into our hearts.

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Christine Sine March 12, 2009 - 10:41 pm

Pat,
I share your feelings. I think that the fastest growing group amongst the homeless are women and children and so many live on the edge of becoming homeless

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