There has been a lot of talk lately on how our community should deal with homelessness, many statistics given, many plans discussed. What some may have lost sight of in all of these discussions, though, is the very real plight of the individuals that have found themselves homeless.
As the Executive Director of the Mission at Kern County I see the situation that these people have found themselves in on a daily basis. The despair and hurt that is etched on the faces that come through our doors can be heart wrenching. I would be willing to wager that not once, as these people envisioned their future while growing up, did they see themselves as hopeless, despairing people who would be coming to a Mission with a hand out, hoping for a hand up.
Being director I have seen this many times over the years and I believe that for someone to lift themselves out of their current situation they need to have hope, support and the ability to begin to believe in themselves again. At the Mission we listen to their individual stories, we determine their individual needs, we supply their basic necessities, we pray with them and we attempt to help them start to heal the damage that has been done to them both by themselves and by others.
These people come to us from all walks of life and with all kinds of reasons for their current problems; loss of job, divorce, addiction, physical and mental handicaps, and the list goes on. All of these people, though, have this in common: they want to be lifted out of their current circumstances and have their lives restored to them.
My fervent hope is that in the process of trying to deal with this very large, very real problem that we do not forget that it is individual people with individual problems that we are dealing with. They are somebodies brother, sister, uncle, aunt, father, mother, son or daughter. They could be yours.