Don’t Talk About Us; Talk With Us

Family Promise of Lower Bucks County, the organization that will provide temporary shelter for families will debut on April 2 at 10 a.m. at it’s day center location at 578 Main Street, Tullytown, PA. Churches will take turns hosting families each week in the 30 day program to help get families back on their feet. http://www.fplb.org/

In the 30 day program, families will stay at the church in the evening and overnight. They will be taken to day centers each day, where they do their daily routines, look for jobs, get job training, and go to school or work.

The program is designed for people who have undergone hardship and are serious about returning to normal. For the safety and well being of all guests, people will be screened before entering the program and there will be strict rules.

At a recent Family Promise meeting, the speaker encouraged volunteers to interact with quests and act as a mentor.

This is the spirit that needs to blossom towards the homeless community.

It’s good to know that the churches in lower Bucks County are continuing to reach out and help those in need. That’s part of the job God gave the church. Physical, emotional and spiritual needs are something the church, empowered by God, can and should help people with.

One venue where the church is doing God’s work is at the community meals. The hosts sit down with their guest and let them know they care about them, develop relationships and listen to their concerns.

The churches in lower Bucks County are really needed to counter the  judgmental  school of thought towards the homeless, which must have come out of Wottsamatta U., certainly unchristian.

“As the homeless-run organization Picture the Homeless proclaims, ‘Don’t Talk About Us—Talk With Us!’ The homeless must be recognized as people worthy of empathy and respect,” wrote Joanna Laine in NYU Review of Law and Social Change. Right on!

One concern I found among the homeless people I started hanging out with two years ago is that people don’t want to socialize with them but keep them at a distance. Not all people do this. Interesting, it’s  mostly the churches and people of faith who have been showing empathy and respect towards the homeless.

Just as during  the civil rights movement, it’s the true church that will allow the homeless to overcome.

During the civil rights movement, there was a silent majority of whites that didn’t like the way blacks were treated. Dr. Martin Luther King appealed to these righteous people and woke them up, and demonstrated to the world that the status quo had to change. At the same time, he admonished his oppressed brothers and sisters to peacefully protest against the man, and to not, as is the case today, become an unruly, vindictive mob. MLK used the Bible as the argument for his cause. He challenged America to live up to it’s principles.

Likewise, homeless advocates can wake up the community by challenging people, pricking their consciences with scripture. I for one challenge the establishment to live up to it’s standards and show more empathy and respect towards the homeless.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, wrote Edmund Burke, and Irish statesman, whose writings influenced the Revolutionary War.

Family Promise is an example of the church shining God’s light on the world.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

— 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Churches Open Doors to Homeless

Family Promise is stepping up to the plate in lower Bucks County, PA to provide housing, meals, and services to help homeless families get back on their feet. Churches will open their doors to provide overnight shelter and meals for the families, with opening ceremonies starting April 2. Similar to Code Blue, which houses the homeless during the winter, churches participating in this program will welcome people year round.

Each morning, families are transported to a day center, where they can take care of hygiene, wash clothes, look for jobs and training, and get kids off to school. The center also offers job interview training, helps people arrange day care and helps families link up to other services, such as healthcare. Here job applicants can have a mailing address.

Although Family Promise of Lower Bucks is just housing families, including single moms, this should help others by freeing  up space in the Bucks County Emergency Shelter in Levittown, which is overflowing, with families, which get priority, taking up much of the space.

The goal of Family Promise is to help families become self sufficient, with an 80 percent success rate nationally.

To ensure the safety of the all the guests, participants are screened for substance abuse, criminal background, and mental health issues, as are strict rules.

A good part of the Family Promise program is mentoring people and making the guest feel at home. The volunteers are encouraged to mingle with the guests, while giving them their space, their privacy.

This is the atmosphere I’ve found at the community meals for the homeless and needy in lower Bucks County. As Paul Revere & The Raiders sang, it’s a good thing. http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/p/paul_revere_the_raiders/good_thing.html 

I was greatly encouraged to learn of this private organization that helps fill the great need for shelter for the homeless in lower Bucks County. In the tradition of President Grover Cleveland, who vetoed a government bailout for Texas farmers and relied on Americans to help their neighbors, the private sector is coming to the aid of it’s homeless neighbors. In the case of the Texas farmers, Americans donated more funds to help fellow Americans than was proposed in the government bailout.

The local churches are doing God’s work by reaching out to needy people. I’m honored to have signed up as an advocate and for public relations with Family Promise of Lower Bucks.

“For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”

–Deuteronomy 15:11

For more information: http://www.fplb.org/ 

Or, for those in the homeless community in lower Bucks County, see me, Jeff. They know me from the Navy Yard to the Boulevard. Actually, I can be found in the Levittown branch of the Bucks County Free Library and at the community meals for the homeless and needy.