True story. Wednesday I get a phone call in late afternoon from a local church. The church secretary is in the midst of a bit of a crisis. A homeless lady is sitting on the front steps of the church. She's sixty tired, thirsty and hunger. She's been hitchhiking, and sleeping rough in towns between here and Calgary. She's asked the secretary if she could sleep in the office, or even just a washroom...she just needs sleep. So I phone various local shelters, she had already been down to Street Link, Our Place...they are not an option as she has issues of sexual abuse and assault. So, ideally the church would have been the best option. The church has extra rooms, heated, full kitchen. Phone a couple to stay with her for the night, so she can get some rest.
But, I'm told the church is not an option.
In the end I and a friend put her up in a local motel. Even there, there are problems...they don't take homeless people. So I just talk, trying to re-ensure the receptionist...leaving my credit card imprint encase the room gets damaged. After a meal in a restaurant, she can barely keep her eyes open so she goes back to her room to sleep.
Surprisingly, she phones the next day, very grateful, and thankful for the sleep and food...for the sense of renewed hope.
Why are so many churches locked up 6 1/2 days a week ... and not even an option for homelessness.
In the current economic climate these random incidences are going to happen more often. It's like that old protest song from the 60's when every one was worried about what was going on in LA. The words in the song went, " you don't have to worry about going to LA, LA is coming to you." Homelessness, the working poor are on the increase, it's spreading and coming your way...if it's not already there.
For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me ( Matthew 25:35 )
But then again...I guess Jesus would understand, there was no room at the inn either.