Have you ever attempted to provide housing for a homeless person? I and my sister have attempted and I will narrate our individual experiences.
Have you ever attempted to provide housing for a homeless person? I’ve attempted.
When a homeless man arrived asking for $30 for the train fare to his sister in another city 300 kilometers away, I was attending a religious event in the inner city. I made the choice to “do our bit” with another man.
We would accompany him to the train station and pay his ticket to take him to his sister instead of giving him the cash right now. He insisted that we don’t need to go all the way; just give him the money halfway there. We are adamant about getting the ticket straight.
Offer No. 1 was rejected and declined.
He suddenly realizes that his sister may not be expecting him and may be away, and that he has nowhere to go.
In response, we say that we’ll arrange for him to stay at the SA hostel. He replies that they won’t accept him due to his nationality. We called them because we found it unusual. The SA laughed and stated it was nonsense; after checking the man’s name, the issue was that he would violate the curfew and bring alcohol inside, which were both grounds for exclusion.
Offer 2 is inappropriate given the guy’s actions.
Then SA recommended an other hostel that would accept him.
We follow the man as he leads us to the hostel, and surprise! Halfway there, he begins calling us pious churchgoers that he doesn’t want to interact with.
We urge him to abandon him and at the very least make it to the hostel.
- Offer rejected
After the church event has ended, we see him standing outside a bar or nightclub 30 minutes later.
Because of this, I have little interest in devoting time, energy, or resources to actively assisting the homeless. I don’t believe they will be sincere with me.
I do encourage the Salvation Army to assist them since they are better equipped than I am to do so in terms of experience and expertise.
My Sister’s Experience
About a year and a half ago, my sister offered a spot in her basement to a homeless family with four young children. At the shelter where she served breakfast once a month with her church, she had observed them doing so. After finishing her work in the kitchen, she joined the family for a meal, her concern for the kids igniting her desire to learn more about their situation and how she could be of assistance.
The mother claimed that while they were out and about, their automobile “broke down.” She was unsure of how to get the third child to a doctor’s visit. They were provided a ride to the appointment by my sister. By the time the appointment was over, she had made the decision to assist the family by extending an invitation to stay in her basement while she figured out how to assist them in finding long-term accommodation. (She also made arrangements for the car to be towed and given a viability check. The car’s repairs ultimately fell to her.)
My sister, who lives alone with her dog, has a magnificent home that is over 4000 square feet in size. When her daughters and grandkids came to visit, she transformed her basement into a lovely entertaining space with two opulent bedrooms and a bathroom. It included a bar with a kitchenette inside, which was perfect for this family. You would think that this family would be so overwhelmed with gratitude that they would do whatever in their power to ensure that their unexpected good fortune persisted for as long as they required it.
Even though the parents insisted that they were adhering to the prohibition against smoking indoors, the basement started to smell like cigarettes. Because of the filth in the basement, my sister paid her cleaners extra.
My sister frequently had to watch the kids and provide for them while the father “searched for employment” and the mother followed him as support.
Her version of Tide wasn’t working, so she texted me to ask how to get cigarette smoke out of clothes. I suggested she get Tide with OxiClean. She claimed it had amazing results. (This isn’t a Tide advertisement; it’s just for OxiClean.)
In the utility room, laundry accumulated until my sister gave up and washed the items herself. I recall her texting me to inquire about how to stop smoking.
My sister’s large liquor cabinet, which was packed with liqueurs and speciality goods that were almost ever used, was the tipping point. It was searched and emptied. About two weeks into the safe harbor project, she realized this when, one evening, she thought she’d like a glass of Gran Marnier to sip on after dinner. She took a little into a brandy snifter and headed downstairs to her bar. It was a clear liquid with a watery flavor. After that, she retrieved a large number of additional speciality bottles and examined all of them. The parents consumed at least $500 worth of cognacs, brandies, bourbons, and other alcoholic beverages in just two weeks. This is despite the fact that every time my sister went food shopping, she included beer because the family had requested it.
As you have probably already guessed, my sister, who is a fierce advocate for social justice, was saddened. How somebody could reward her kindness with such cunning was beyond her comprehension.
My opinion on why providing safe haven in your own home is ineffective is as follows:
People don’t give a damn about what other people own. When I give my pupils supplies, I’ve seen that they misplace the pens, leave the caps off, and refuse to clean up the art center. However, if they have their own supplies, they take great care to ensure that everything is taken care of and stored appropriately.
Even when such largesse is shared with them, folks who don’t have much (or anything) can’t help but feel resentment toward those who do. They frequently act as a result of this resentment. (Do you have a fantastic basement filled with alcohol? Sister, it’s now mine.) My sister was profoundly perplexed by this contradiction: how could this family have reciprocated her kindness?
People tend to value things less when they are given to them instead of earning them through hard labor. It becomes just another method to take advantage of the system, even if the system in question is a nice woman who has shown a genuine interest in them.
Therefore, why doesn’t society “provide the homeless a place to stay”? because things don’t turn out the way you expect they will in a utopian world. The nature of people ensures that.
How She Eventually got them out of her House?
My sister sat the parents down and informed them of the impending departure. She claimed that she had found all of the missing booze and that she couldn’t take the possibility of having other areas of her house broken into. One thing about my sister is that she is not a wimp. Despite being unsure of how to manage it, she expresses her opinions and avoids letting problems grow. She gives it some thought, prays about it, and finally decides. She helped them relocate all of their belongings and made arrangements for them to stay at one of those pay-per-week motels. The kids were sobbing and continued expressing their want to stay with the sweet woman who had prepared dinner.
They were not abandoned at the motel by my sister; instead, she visited them frequently, picked up their laundry once a week, and assisted them in connecting with Catholic Charities, which began the process of getting them approved for a rent-controlled apartment. My sister was shocked to learn that taking the family in had really prevented them from being able to obtain an apartment. The decision-makers looked at the fact that they had lived in a genuine home for two weeks and hence weren’t really in need of assistance. However, this family didn’t even know where to look for assistance without my sister. They weren’t able to proceed until she showed interest in them and assisted them in through the red tape.
My sister informed me she had a lesson to learn: rather than letting them in, she should have taken them to the motel in the first place, and only then should she have started assisting them in resolving their predicament.