Clothing closets and food pantries offer an effective fix and a temporary, simple explanation to some of the issues homeless individuals are faced with. However, the issue of homelessness is generally more profound than a need for clothes or a meal. What if you could have homeless individuals to recover a sense of purpose, identity, and worthiness?
Here are a few ideas if your church is contemplating about a homeless ministry with a holistic approach.
Enable a Place for Grace
Shelters are offered at the beginning of the evening, but individuals are required to leave in the morning. In a lot of areas, police tend to arrest homeless individuals for wandering around buildings or in parks. As a Homeless Outreach Ministry, you can set up a place where people can go for a couple of hours every day. Ensure the availability of a phone for them to make calls. Employ volunteers to work as friends and hosts to homeless visitors. They can also play a role in linking people with medical care and agencies.
Encouraging Satisfactory Hygiene
Distribute packages of sample-size toiletry products by customizing hygiene kits. Within a zip-lock bag, put a bar of soap, deodorant, comb, a washcloth, shampoo, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. Some churches may also set up shower facilities and restrooms. Designate specific timing of the day during which the bags and the services are offered.
Develop Programs for Job-Training
For people released from a 12-step inpatient program or prison often don’t possess the set of skills or developed work ethic to be hired. Seeking habits through their church could help them get employed somewhere. This can be done by teaching them a trade or skill that is marketable. Job opportunities can include grounds keeping, custodial work, painting, vehicle maintenance, or working in the church kitchen.
Offer a Place for Education
Sometimes homeless people possess a stable stream of finances but no skills for money-management. Banking classes and money-management can be offered at a homeless ministry. Establish a sanctuary where they learn interviewing skills and help is provided regarding job applications. Consider cooperating with the center for rehabilitation for alcohol and drugs to sponsor people who like to receive treatment but are not affordable. Teach people to write and read.
Develop a Ministry for Getting At the Problem
Try to dig out the issues that become the root cause of the other issues. Maybe people are unable to work because they don’t have childcare. Deliver childcare for the homeless. Resolve if there is an obstacle to transportation. Coordinate with your local bus organization to purchase tickets at a low cost for people to get to work. People may be temporarily homeless because they lack money-management skills. Be the teacher who assists people in learning priority spending and budgeting. People struggling with mental illness may require a chaperone to help schedule appointments, contact physicians, and take the necessary medication.
Sam James served seven years as a minister and evangelist for the church of Christ. Upon his return to the States, Sam became a part of the homeless outreach ministry and devoted himself to putting God’s Word back into healing and healing back into the Church.