Locally here, we used to have an asylum whose residents were integrated successfully into the community. We have a very comprehensive county mental health service that addresses every conceivable need for it's clients. We do not have a homeless and mentally ill problem here. All have useful work and jobs and our churches are involved. Our county is rural. Grant money is wisely spent. Many volunteer time from early age to assist.
In the original article here, no one mentioned was mentally ill. Everyone's problem had an easy solution.
As this article states, after discussion, they were not dealing with criminals here. In all cases all just turned to the last house on the block.
This prevailing stereotype here that the homeless are crazy criminal junkies who should be dealt with by: 'shoot first, ask questions later' really is disturbing. Vets? Teens? Did we have this attitude during the Great Depression?
And you know really, if a helpless newborn baby is left at the church door, what would be done? I believe similar consideration should be made for a hopeless and helpless adult.
There are many times where beggars and homeless are spoken about in the Bible - some lame - some insane (like the man who lived in the tombs). Jesus was right there. He fed the multitudes. He healed. He asked questions. That's Who I follow.
Thanks for posting. I have learned that each of these people has a story, if one is willing to listen. And some may very well be veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts. I try not to think of anyone less than myself but least of all a vet who has served and is struggling.
Mental illness and addiction go hand in hand. Again, I personally know low bottom cases that came back. It is only by God's Providence they recovered and they are considered miracles.
Related to this, a hot topic in my church community are cities that are banning feeding the homeless. (See More Cities Are Making It Illegal To Hand Out Food To The Homeless) The reasoning seems to be the cities want to concentrate services for the homeless to one area. Some would argue that they want to create a ghetto and hide the problem. Tough problem, but I think the church should do everything it can and be vocal about it.
The law that Reagan signed was the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS), passed by the legislature & signed into law in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan. The idea was to "stem entry into the state hospital by encouraging the community system to accept more patients, hopefully improving quality of care while allowing state expense to be alleviated by the newly available federal funds." It also was designed to protect the rights of mental patients. It was considered a landmark of its time--a change in the attitude toward mental illness and its treatment.
In our 12 step group, we have many that are required by the courts to be there - others required by treatment counselors. If they listen and relate, they will invariably hear their own story from someone who came back to live a successful life.
As I've said, having the church hire the homeless to keep the grounds and entrances clear - who are working a 12 step program - to be able to deal with people who are there is a compassionate solution. That is ministry and 12 step work - helping others.
In our community, homelessness isn't an issue. There are people who 'couch surf' - staying with friends until they can get on their feet again.
I'm not into pushing problems onto someone else. I've seen jail and institutions from the inside - it's just hiding the problem. Time to step up and deal with this.
In my 12 step group, I hear peoples stories of how they were helpless, hopeless and homeless living out of a box. As an addict, I can relate to mental illness. 12 step programs SOLVE this issue but at times, there has to be inspiration. Could be a priest or someone else in the program.
The largest mental facility in CA is the Los Angeles Co jail where they are involuntarily locked up. Same goes for many other parts of the country.
The Pope is really hands on with the poor and homeless problem locally. One would think he hit the roof seeing this, as he should.
My solution would be to hire some of those homeless to keep the doorways clean. At the same time, they can talk to those camped out there to get them help - a ride to a NA meeting or help with other church services.