Homelessness skyrockets, faith-based solutions offer healing

by Renata

Renata Kiss, FISM News

Homelessness is on the rise across the United States, with Los Angeles and New York City getting hit the hardest. NPR reports that the two most influential cities in the states are seeing a “record level of homelessness.” 

FOX News reports that homelessness in Los Angeles has risen by 10% despite California spending more than $17 billion to improve the state’s situation in the past five years.

One LA-based nonprofit says that this is largely because California focuses on short-term solutions instead of long-term options. And to make matters worse, one LA county council member says that government funds don’t actually end up covering the needs of the homeless, such as affordable housing. Instead, the money often goes toward “soft costs” like consultants and architects. 

New York City-based Coalition for the Homeless reports that homelessness in the city has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression.

The reasons behind the crisis are similar to that of Los Angeles. New York City says that the DHS shelter system is falling short in its attempts to help people get off the streets. A report earlier this year said that the DHS doesn’t provide accurate information on the homeless, and that self-reportings don’t always represent the truth.

The system can take up to a month to process newcomers, slowing down overall progress. What makes matters worse is that most of those who are homeless also struggle with various mental and physical issues that make their placement even more difficult. 

But all is not lost.

The Dream Center, a faith-based nonprofit in Los Angeles, helps homeless people by providing transitional housing that operates more like a home and less like a jail cell. The Dream Center serves the needy with the understanding that every individual on the street has a soul.

“I feel beyond grateful to have safety for myself and my daughter,” wrote one young mother, “and a great support system as I process my internal battles.”

This makes all the difference. Even though Jesus promised that the poor will always be with us, God cares for the vulnerable. The government may be corrupt in its practices, but God has a heart for those who cannot help themselves. Psalm 9:18 says that “the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.”