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Harbor the Harborless/Shelter the Homeless

We think of shelter as a basic requirement of life, but many people simply don’t have a roof over their heads or a safe place to live.  For many of us, the line between our homes and being homeless is a thin one that can disappear with the death of a spouse, the loss of a job or an illness. 

Harbor the HarborlessWhy not educate ourselves on the causes of homelessness? Then we can make a conscious effort to see each homeless person as a human being worthy of dignity and  acknowledgement.  In big cities we train ourselves to look away from those who make us uncomfortable.  But eye contact and a “good morning” to someone who is homeless can make both of us feel a little more human.

We can look around our homes and be grateful for what we have.  At the same time, we can clear the clutter from our homes and donate useable items for someone else’s home.  As with our clothing it’s about simplifying our own lives and using what we have to benefit someone else.

Getting Involved in the Issues

A powerful experience can come from volunteering to build a through Habitat for Humanity or a similar program.  Volunteers of all skill levels are welcomed and are trained for their tasks.  Yes, it benefits the family who will own the house and works to build it – but the real transformation is in the hearts of those who meet the family and create this new future alongside them.    

Do I know what homeless shelters there are in my community?  What support, supplies or donations can we offer them?  For the many children in homeless shelters, do I have toys I can donate?  Most children in shelters have few possessions of their own and a book or game could be a great gift. 

Could I call a shelter and offer to cook, read to children or share a hobby or skill with the guests?  What are the gifts each of us have that we can share?  The gift of my time could be as helpful as my money.

Working for Fair Housing

If our interests are more along the line of legislation rather than wielding a hammer, we can work for fair housing laws.  Do we know what the laws are and how well they are enforced?  In the US, fair housing means it is illegal to refuse to rent or sell a home because of color, national origin, religion, sex, family status (families with children) or disability. But in the US, the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates more than two million instances of housing discrimination occur each year. 
How can we work toward more fair housing in our own communities?

What does it mean to Harbor the Harborless?  Yes, some are without shelter, but others are without a homeland or can’t afford to stay in their homeland and flee to another country.   

I can learn about the issues involved in immigration and advocate for legislation on this issue that can be so divisive.  One resource on Justice for Immigrants is from the US Bishops website.

Have More Ideas to Add?

If you have more ideas for ways to Feed the Hungry, let us hear them. Send them to us here.

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