I was in a community meeting the other day and someone, as folks often do, brought up the phrase ‘ending homelessness’. There was, as there tends to be, a symphony of snickering and murmurs of the impossibility of ending homelessness. I have heard all of the arguments- why we should stop using the phrase …even the Bible said that the poor will always be among us…the ten year plan is over and we haven’t even made a dent!
But I see it differently. I can only speak for the Gateway Center, but when we use the phrase “ending homelessness” we are not talking about eliminating the entire social problem. We have been in this field long enough to know that there are entirely too many things that create and exacerbate homelessness- abuse, addiction, generational poverty… It would be impossible to prevent them all and we know that. But that doesn’t stop us from claiming that we work to end homelessness. And in truth, we have ended homelessness…we have helped end it for Russell, for Gino, for Sean, for Will, for Reggie…and countless others. When I talk about ending homelessness, this is what I am talking about.
GK Chesterton is one of my favorite authors, and he puts it better than I ever could:
“An event is not any more intrinsically intelligible or unintelligible because of the pace at which it moves. For a man who does not believe in a miracle, a slow miracle would be just as incredible as a swift one.” GK Chesterton- The Everlasting Man
What I am saying when I say that the Gateway Center works to end homelessness, is that we are in the business of slow miracles.
Just because the business of ending homelessness is a slow process, that does not make it any less extraordinary. In fact, it might make it more extraordinary because of the exhaustive process. Our dedicated staff is here 365 days a year, working alongside our clients to help them move, slowly but surely, into self-sufficiency. Whenever I can make time in my days to stop and think about the great accomplishment of ending homelessness, it makes me proud beyond words to be part of an agency that can boast that kind of impact.
So I want to invite you to come along on our journey in ending homelessness. Follow our progress, volunteer with our clients, be a part of a slow, steady miracle!
Last year over 4,400 unique persons stayed at Gateway Center in their journey towards self-sufficiency and out of homelessness. $10 provides meals for a day for one of these men, women, and children. Make a donation today.