A war on the homeless is a war on the poor. This is significant because God has much to say about our treatment of the poor. Proverbs 14:31 ESV says, “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.”
I could raise several questions about government welfare programs but will not. My purpose is not political but I am concerned about the treatment the poor and homeless receive. Union Mission is not a social agency – our purpose is spiritual. Servicing our residents means we delve into the social sphere. Because our city government wants to wage war on the homeless, we are now engaged in the political arena. The basis of this is partly a misunderstanding of Union Mission’s ministries. We are not just a homeless shelter although we shelter the homeless. Our goal and desire is; to lead recovery for the homeless and addicted. Not all homeless people are addicts but all homeless people are in need recovery.
Our meals program operates on a needs basis for the physical bread of life. There are people in our communities that work and cannot sustain themselves without Union Mission. We see more families coming to our dining hall towards the end of the month. They must, their choice is pay the rent or buy food. The National Low Income Housing Coalition states that a resident of Marion County must earn $15.29 an hour to provide a two bedroom apartment and maintain all other necessities of life.
The homeless digging out of their poverty cannot find jobs paying $15.29 an hour. Affordable housing is not available to them. Most government programs offer little hope of rising above poverty level. The government poverty guideline state $25,525 is 125% of the poverty level but it takes $31,803.20 to sustain housing and food. Government programs end $6,000 short of what a family of three needs.
End the war on the poor. God asks us to help the poor climb out of poverty. Consider, Psalm 12:5 ESV “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” It is Union Mission’s desire to be the safety for which the homeless and poor longs.
George E. Batten