[the idea camp] a conversation on home(less)

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

August 29, 2009

The Idea Camp D.C.

Who:Mark Horvath and Shannon Moriarty

Kids who are homeless experience post-traumatic stress disorder at twice the rate of veterans returning from war. Issues like this can be dealt with by providing stable housing for children. The results on kids are devastating, but it is easy to deal with. Before they need ‘the church’, they need stable housing.

icdc-horvath-moriartyOne of the biggest problems is ‘family downsizing’. Due to economic reasons, families living in a three-bedroom house are now having to move into one-bedroom apartments. This often means that the oldest kid needs to move out…

When sharing the story, there are two elements to consider… One is getting the story, and the other is getting leadership to believe in it enough to play it in your church.

A video is not always what needs to be shared. Other mediums can be used, but what is important is sharing the personal side of the story. You’ve got to give people an emotional attachment or they are not going to be moved to action.

One place we need to go is in helping to get these people into homes. However, getting people into homes that they cannot afford can be dangerous. But the ability to live in a home provides a stability that cannot be achieved otherwise.

One homeless man in Atlanta once said, “the church won’t help me unless I’m standing next to Jesus.”

The Housing First model… research shows that people are more successful with things like getting off of drugs and making other significant changes when they have a stable housing situation. The responsibility lies on us that we must put people first. People who just run shelters without doing something to break the cycle will eventually just burn out. We must do something to break the cycle of homelessness, rather than just putting a band-aid on it.

One of the greatest things that people/organizations can do is to just be there to help whatever needs the people have. Some people even work with the police departments to let them know that they’ll take the call if there are needs with homeless people in the area. People can go to the city meetings and other local/community events. You may get frustrated, but with consistency you’ll eventually build trust and make progress. No one person or church can do this alone, so it is important to work with others to figure out what works and accomplish the work.


More from ICDC: live blogging @theideacamp conference


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[the idea camp] a conversation on home(less)

by Dan King time to read: 2 min