As you may or may not recall, I wrote briefly about the concept of sweeps awhile ago. You can refresh your memory here, if necessary (for future reference, any time a word is underlined, chances are it’s a clickable link).
Yesterday I inadvertently came across this news story. If you have a free minute and a half (which I’m going to assume you do, because reading these posts generally takes longer than that…), please watch it.
Let me break it down for you, though. There’s an overpass here in town that, to quote the article, has “housed the homeless for years”. But starting today, that will no longer be the case. The City Code Enforcement said there has been a rise in complaints against the people living there, so they put up trespassing signs and kicked everyone out. They also plan on moving more of the homeless on Monday, probably from their camps along the river.
I first watched this with someone who used to live under that overpass. She was horrified, telling me stories of the people who still live there. In the video, there’s a shot of a mattress being tossed carelessly aside. That mattress belongs to a man who has lived in that spot for 2 1/2 years.
The article also says, “this solves the homeless problem here, but likely only moves it somewhere else.”
It seems, though, that moving the problem somewhere else is not, in fact, solving it anywhere.
The easy answer, if someone doesn’t have all of the facts, would be to send them here, to the Mission. But that just isn’t plausible.
For example, there was a group of homeless teenagers who had banded together there as well. None of them are 18, so they will have a particularly difficult time finding a new shelter. The Mission can’t take them in because they are underage.
And even if they were older, we simply don’t have the capacity to even temporarily house all of these people. I’ve already had to turn one family away because we just don’t have any more room.
There are extreme weather shelters that open temporarily between mid-November and March, but even they can only hold so many people.
I’m trying to figure out what Jesus would do in this situation, and I’m just not sure. There aren’t really tables that can be flipped over in anger (Matthew 21, if you don’t know what I’m referring to) and even if there were, I’m not sure that would be especially helpful…
So, for now I guess I’ll just keep praying for this community that I love. I’ll pray that our city would recognize that the open-ended action that they took was unjust. And I’ll pray that some kind of solution would arise, and that something good could somehow come from what seems like an awful situation.