What images come to mind when you think of homelessness?
While images such as this are still true, homelessness has taken quite a turn. It is an extremely complex subject; one that I feel I’ve barely skimmed the surface of the surface.
To find out the state of present homelessness, one only needs to ask a couple of questions:
What state would you be in without your line of credit?
Do you find yourself relying on credit to cover for basic needs such as groceries each month?
Do you have savings that could cover your expenses for a few months if you couldn’t work?
Do you know your neighbor?
Honestly, for our family, if we didn’t have a line of credit we wouldn’t survive. Right now the amount of money we bring in and our cost of living don’t match up. We live pretty basic, yet this still remains our reality. We are also recovering from living beyond our means when we were making a lot more money. Seems like more money only encourages more spending… Times change, work can slow down leaving one lost on how to survive on a smaller income. By the time you’ve figured out you’ve lived beyond your means far too long, you’re beyond broke.
When you talk about the issue of homelessness with people, there is a stereotype that goes along with it. Yet the reality is that it’s closer to becoming a reality for more of us than we think.
Knowing this takes away the “us and them” mentality that so often keeps us from crossing our picket fences painted by the illusion of credit into the world of the broken. We’re scared of what we don’t understand.
When we understand how easily that could be us in the same situation, it’s no longer “us and them”…. it’s “us”. This kind of understanding is a great place to start. It may be enough to get our minds rolling and our hearts dissatisfied enough to want something to change.
It’s a start, though it’s not enough, but it’s a good place to begin. Are you willing to take a long, hard look at your credit statement? Do you see yourself potentially in their shoes? If so, I dare you start to make changes for your personal family finances. How much of our visa bill is excess, not truly needed? Will you then allow that empathy to fuel your soul with compassion. Giving to the poor doesn’t just involve money. Think of ways you can contribute to the solution. After all, it effects all of us.
If you’re set financially, then may I offer a poverty prevention plan I saw on my twitter feed yesterday: “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). That statement alone has the potential to solve every ounce of poverty in our world. Compared to the rest of the world, even those who feel they have very little, are considered among the ones whom “much has been given”.
We in North America have been given freedom, opportunity, resources, access to internet… the list goes on. We ARE rich in the ability to make culture the way we want it. To whom this has been given, there is a responsibility.
Now to find the ones brave enough to do something….