Well, I can understand *just a little* about the plight of the homeless. Often there are addiction or mental health issues there as well. I know that my own son G just might fit the profile in a few years because his autism literally doesn't allow him to see clearly when someone is acting in his best interests. He doesn't "get" things and often goes on screaming, destructive rants. I could very easily see him as being homeless in ten years, and yet I couldn't see myself allowing him to live here when he can be so belligerent when he's upset.
It just hurts my heart to think about. (And I try not to, but I'm having a burst of honesty this morning.) I've known folks who were previously homeless, too, and have been able to learn how to handle finances and get a job while they were being helped by various community organizations. (Then again, despite what they might have done to their own bodies with drugs, they were neurotypical and able to "recover." Short of a miracle or a new drug, G will never be well.) It's important to note that Jesus didn't ask us to help the poor based on how "deserving" they were. While I'm going to say we need to be careful not to enable, we also need to be sure we're not using enabling as an excuse not to help someone and treat them as we'd like to be treated ourselves.
These people are somebody's children. I love G. I think G knows when he's calm and rational that what he did yesterday or last week was wrong. But he will NEVER "learn better." It's hard for people with neurotypical kids to understand. Next time he's upset, he's not going to remember what happened last week. If you remind him then, it won't work and may just serve to get him even more angry and destructive. Best to let him alone and deal with whatever consequences fall out later. He is not rational when upset. You can't argue with a crazy person. I'm not saying that to be funny. Not at all.
I know when he is older and married, his wife may call the police. I wish I could help him, but we are doing everything we can for him. Yes, fellow Christians, this includes taking him to the psychologist and getting him drugs. You have no clue how much WORSE he is without them, so critical comments on that aspect of my parenting will be immediately deleted. Have enough crap going on without being criticised as well. I just do. But anyway, I wrote what I did to say this: if there were a new drug out that we thought would help G, we'd let him try it, even if it did have some scary side effects. When you know your child would never be able to fully function in the world otherwise, you'd probably take chances as well.
So how should the homeless be helped? And what should the church's response be to their problems? This church allowed some homeless folks to live on its grounds, and the zoning people got upset. I see both sides of this issue, but I can't help but think that there ARE organizations out there -- good ones -- that deal with this issue professionally. I would rather homeless folks be referred there. They would know more about how to truly help depending on the problem. I live within two blocks of three churches and can't imagine what that would do to my neighbourhood if one of them decided to house, say, 24 homeless guys with various problems.
Please hear my heart on this. Because as a mom, I understand these guys are someone's kids. And I know that could someday be my kid, too. But I'm having trouble seeing that, if the parishoners aren't comfortable with taking these guys into their own personal homes, why the neighbourhood should have guests it didn't invite. "Do unto others" isn't just about the guy you're helping in the church, but it's also about the people who live nearby having their interests looked for. If you're not comfortable taking this guy into your house and having him live with your three-year-old, do you expect the neighbours near the church to be happy with this arrangement? They have children who play outside, too.
I don't see why the church in the story can't go through a zone change process, or go to the zoning board for special permissions. The church in the story is in an industrial neighbourhood, so perhaps it's near places the homeless folks could find jobs? That would be wonderful and everyone would win. But what little I see in the article indicates to me that everyone is digging in his heels and not thinking of the other side's arguments.