Background Checks Required to be Homeless?
Really now, Americans! Background Checks to be Homeless?
I was just surfing around, researching and looking for information for my upcoming hub on Homelessness, when I ran into a blog from a church, somewhere here in the good old USA - I am not sure where this church is exactly - I don't care, and I don't even want to know, really. Somewhere in freezing Washington State, I gathered... I am quite sure I would never want to visit this community, nor ever meet any of its residents.
Here is the web address of the article which got me going:http://www.myballard.com/2009/02/26/emotions-run-high-at-homeless-shelter-meeting/
This church recently held an "emergency meeting" to determine whether they would give 20 homeless people shelter at one of their unused church facilities. So far, we are all good here - very commendable, and yes, certainly expected, that Christians should want to alleviate the suffering of less fortunate people. Very good. And those who proposed the plan to shelter these poor people from the cold are certainly AOK in my book. This is what Christians should be doing, and what anyone with the means to help should be doing.
The advocates of taking in the homeless people apologized for not giving the members of the church more notice about the meeting, but that considering the homeless condition of the people they were trying to help, they hoped they would be forgiven for the short notice.
Two churches, the Calvary Lutheran Church and Our Redeemer churches, had recently merged, and the plan was to lodge the homeless group in a vacant church building belonging to the church.
But when the members were presented with the proposal, their answer was: "And what kind of mandatory screening have you done on these people? "
They had wanted to move the people in almost immediately, to give them a place to be. But ended up getting nothing but a three week delay while they could decide whether they would accept the people or not, and a whole bunch of negativity, cruel and callous remarks and accusations, ranging all the way from "the homeless are all sex offenders", to "this pastor is raking in all kinds of our tax money from the non-profit organization he represents, which is just a cover-up for a tax shelter for crooks, for his own benefit, and is trying to force these people on us, to ruin our community".
"it is irresponsible -- even unconscionable -- for any organization to resist conducting proper background checks on homeless people moving en masse into a new (mostly residential) neighborhood."
Here's a nice Christian attitude:
Reply: "You hit the nail on the head. Many of these folks simply prefer to drop out of society, live by their own rules, which is fine, that's their right and their choice.
However, what they can't expect is that we have to accept their lifestyle. We chose rules (background checks, drug testing, credit checks etc.) so that we would NOT be homeless and so we can live in a nice neighborhood, not a sh*thole.
They can claim such checks infringe on their 'dignity', but all they do is infringe on their pseudo-hippie, I-wanna-be-me, lifestyle.
Tune and drop out by all means, just do it somewhere else. I suggest Berkeley."
"I think that everyone should have a background check. We should wear tags that announce what our background check finds. When meeting new people, we should kneel briefly, avert our eyes and offer our tag in submission for the others perusal. If we are deemed worthy, the other will tap us gently on our shoulder and we can rise and give each other gentle hugs of affirmation."
"A church should take care of its immediate congregation and not dozens of people from outside the community. The people in that neighborhood didn’t move there to live next to a homeless shelter and have every right to block this project."
(I actually like this next one:)
"I'm for the utter ejection of all homeless people from Ballard--but I say be upfront about it - Ballard - a Nice Neighborhood for the Right People, All Others Leave By Sundown."
"My wife and I believe that the soup kitchen, along with the food bank, is a problem. Daytime operations make it a magnet for an undesirable element who come in their cars/trucks/RVs as well as metro, to ‘party’ and claim turf. Where one can see a motley crew boozing it up in a parked car or just loitering without purpose, needles, hard drugs, and psychotic alcoholics are not far behind."
"I really want to help the homeless, but I only want to help them if they live in someone else's neighborhood. And, of course, they only deserve help if they've arrived at their current situation through a combination of perfect decision-making and horrendous luck. I'm willing to help in any way I can, but I don't want to see them. Or pay for it."
"But - since life isn't working out so well with the rules you've played by so far - then maybe its time to adopt someone else' rules for a bit. When you can afford your own place - then you can go back to your own rules. I mean - if the price for having a shower, a shave, a place to learn how to make resumes and get mail and get clean clothes - costs the price of you having to sit there through a church service - tough." (Jeez, I didn't know that being poor obligated you to accepting someone else's religious practices, did you?)
"Housing is a basic need, the quality is determined by things like a background check, income and a pattern of good choices, but denying someone basic housing that would keep them from sleeping outside, on the basis of whether or not they can pass a background check is denying someone a basic human right: Shelter."
America, you have lost your way! Stop it!
(There's more coming here - but I have to leave right now - the furnace seems to be messing up and I have to go get my kerosene heater - it's 20 degrees here
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