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Why Homelessness?
A series in Faith Today by the EFC Roundtable on Poverty and Homelessness
Why Do People Live on the Street? by Greg Paul
Would Jesus Give to Panhandlers? by Leaurie Noordermeer
Giving Only at Christmas? by Dion Oxford
Why Don't They Just Get a Job? by Kent Dueck and John Mohan
Isn't Homelessness a Government Problem? by David Adcock
Poverty & Homelessness in Canada
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As Christians, in accordance with the Scriptures, we are called to care for the poor and the vulnerable and to uphold human dignity. Scriptures place a high priority on the care of those who are broken and in despair – the widow, the orphan, the alien, those who are sick or in captivity. We are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbour as ourself. What does it mean to love our neighbour? Loving our neighbour requires us to be a good neighbour to our brothers and sisters, to care well for and showing mercy and compassion to those around us. Jesus makes it clear in Scripture that when we care for those who are broken and in need, it is an act of worship and service unto Him.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. … I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mind, you did unto me.” [1]

The Issue

Poverty and homelessness are complex issues that defy a single, simple solution. Families or individuals of any age can become poor or homeless, temporarily or permanently, for a variety of reasons. The homeless population is not a homogeneous group. Each person who finds themselves homeless or living on the streets is a unique individual, with a unique story. They may be someone’s mother or father, son or daughter, brother or sister. They may come from small towns or big cities, from homes that are very wealthy or very poor. It is simply not possible to paint a picture of the ‘typical homeless person.’ There are however certain common risk factors and tragic commonalities for homelessness and poverty. These include family breakdown, violence or abuse in the home, unemployment, recent immigration or release from prison, substance abuse and addiction, mental and physical illness and a shortage of affordable housing. [2]


[1] Matthew 25:34-40, The Holy Bible, New International Version
[2] Patricia Begin, Lyne Casavant, Nancy Miller Chenier, Homelessness, Library of Parliament, Parliamentary Research Branch, January 1999.


Issue: Poverty & Homelessness

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