With triple digit temperatures we have taken to the streets of skid row to bring relief.
Although we do not support the idea of those experiencing homelessness being allowed to live on the streets, we do have compassion for them. There is a balance we try to keep whereby our helping of the homeless does not enable them to continue a dysfunctional street lifestyle and showing them the love of Jesus.
Deed and Truth primarily focuses on those experiencing homelessness who have proven their desire for life change by entering and completing an extensive program. However, this week the heat has been so extreme we hit the streets of Skid Row with some cold water in partnership with the Union Rescue Mission.
The overwhelming majority of people on the street were very grateful for some cold water which we stored in the walk-in freezers. As we distributed the water on the blocks around the mission we also invited them to come out of the heat and into the mission to find help to a better life. The mission can offer them a safe place to sleep, three meals a day, clean clothes, hygiene staples, medical and dental care, counseling, and access to a recovery program or a computer to locate family, and/or a case manager to find employment, housing, and government assistance.
That all sounds like a slam dunk if you are sleeping on the street in 100’ degree weather. However, it’s hard for most to leave the street life if they’ve been accustomed to it for a long period of time. The combination of mental health, drug or alcohol addiction, physical abuse, and hopelessness is hard to overcome. There is a built-in distrust of others and moving inside can feel even more vulnerable than the illusion of independence on the street.
A special thanks to volunteers Seth and Anthony for being the hands and feet of Jesus handing out the water and pushing the heavy cart around the neighborhood during the hottest time of the day. And a special thanks to all of you who support Deed & Truth and the Union Rescue Mission for providing the resources so we could give the least of these a “cup of cold water”.
Be encouraged, Jesus knows and rewards even small acts of kindness like these and sees it as an act of love towards himself.
Let’s keep our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness in our prayers, especially during this extreme heat spell. Pray specifically that they might have the courage and wisdom to move inside to seek more permanent help.
Pray for our community leaders and elected officials that they might focus on the horrible dysfunction of living on the streets and invest in temporary shelter and wrap around programs so we can enforce getting people off the dangerous streets and get on a road to recovery. Leaving people out on the streets is not caring for people’s dignity, it is quite the opposite. It is eroding their mental health and self-value, entrenching them in a lifestyle that is destructive to both their bodies and souls!
And please pray about ways you can be a part of the solution by partnering with organizations like ours, Deed & Truth, to promote internal transformation through the love of Jesus proven through the authentic deeds of his people.