In 2017, the Temple Daily Telegram reported that within Bell County, more than 300 people were identified as homeless according to the government’s definition.(1) This number does not include people who are “couch-surfing” or temporarily staying with friends or family. For many of us, we might assume that people find themselves in these situations due to bad choices related to drugs and alcohol. While this can be a contributing factor, the Homeless Coalition of Houston recently released data showing that only 9% of individuals recorded as homeless in Texas were in their situation due to drug or alcohol related issues. In fact, 35% of people sighted job loss as the lead cause of their becoming homeless.(2)
Regardless of the reason that someone is homeless, I think Jesus would ask us to see His image within them. As people who seek to live like Jesus, we are called to love, serve, and walk alongside our brothers and sisters who find themselves homeless, as they seek healing and restoration. Instead of turning our backs on those who are in need, we should meet them with loving and open arms.
One way that Vista seeks to love and care for those who are homeless in our area is by partnering with Family Promise of East Bell County. Family Promise operates in order to “help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response”. Their efforts help to move homeless families from a position of dependency to sustainability. Family Promise values above all else: mercy, community, and responsibility. They operate on the assumption that the issues of homelessness are not problems to be solved by government agencies alone. Rather, they seek to involve the entire community in building up and caring for families in their greatest times of need.
It is truly a blessing for Vista to have an opportunity to partner with Family Promise. By volunteering to drive the Family Promise van, cooking and serving a meal, or staying as an overnight host, you are able to participate in something bigger than any one of us could do alone. At Vista, we see each other as a family. We know that when a family member has a need, we address it. We also know we have the ability to welcome other families and to invite them to become a part of our bigger family. Would you join us in loving and caring for the needs of families in our city?
Partnering with Family Promise Footnotes: