Over the past few years our church family has come across a number of persons who are struggling with transitions. They are near homelessness or homeless often before they seek help in a normal case. Perhaps pride or lack of knowledge of options lets things dwindle and dwindle until there 'seem' to be no options left. By God's mercy, we have been able to help arrange places to stay, or see a solution for that time to make the situation rendered fixed, or refer to a place that may help. Like most evangelical churches, we seek to provide various options to meet needs between shelter/clothing/food/financial support. These are always necessary for church family members. For those who aren't part of the church family, decisions are made based on benevolence support *beyond* the previous commitment.
In my opinion, some of the most challenging persons to minister to are those who struggle with drug addiction. This is difficult because everything serves the addiction, if cash is given, the person will always be tempted to use that to trade in for drugs. What has happened in their life to get them to the point, as they respond wrongly, continues: lies, using people (whoever, even their own children as sympthathy to get drug money), and lack of clear thinking about a holistic view of their life, plague someone who is not consumed with Christ Jesus as first and foremost, but rather with their own thing. They have to find comfort in that drug of choice, so they think. Rather a lasting solution and hope would be in the living Savior Jesus. He is the only person who can change someone needing to seek help from drugs so as to escape homelessness. I have heard of a number of people in and out of drug rehab facilities in the county or state, and not much ever seems to change; they are 'clean' for months, and then they are back in the addiciton. In my opinion, these are the saddest instances, when you can help someone only physically for a time, but they refuse to turn to the One who can through His personal presence in their lives make real changes that affect the situation permanently.
Homelessness is a real challenge in our area, and I am exploring the issue in more depth. With the economic downturn, a lot of 'services sector' people have been showing up for help. Particularly, construction people. I don't expect this to change as the building / construction area is facing a lot of Baby Boomers retiring who do not need an even more expensive house, or an even larger garage, or a excesses like vacation homes. Less construction work means there is going to be a lot of transitioning going on, and some homelessness as a result for set times; sad to say.
Scripture commands us to look out for those who are of faith. We must do this or our message is no message at all. There is also the witness in the world aspect of caring for those who are hurting in society at large. This too is important.