The recent KOMO documentary, "Seattle is Dying," has raised a lot of questions about the causes and solutions to the homelessness crisis in King County. These questions were on the minds of over 100 people who gathered to attend a Homelessness 101 training hosted by Westminster Chapel in Bellevue last Thursday night. This training was the result of a collaboration between a number of Christian homelessness organizations who have been meeting to share common insights and ideas on how to communicate a message of compassion and hope that people experiencing homelessness and addiction can be transformed by the gospel.
This training was co-lead by Seattle's Union Gospel Mission and Vision House. We share a belief that the core causes of homelessness stem from broken relationships with God, themselves and others and that solutions must be based on restoring broken relationships. The training was broken down into; facts and myths about homelessness, the impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences, and a couple of stories of transformation from those who have restored broken relationships in their recovery.
When asked about how the church can engage homelessness, Chris Gough shared his thoughts that if restoring broken relationships is a key part of the solution to homelessness, then the church is vital. When it comes down to the relational resource needed, the church is the "Fort Knox" of loving relationships. Richard McAdams who heads up UGM's outreach ministries shared his own story of transformation from living an isolated, unsheltered life to finding hope in Jesus Christ and transformation in a supportive community. His call to action is to look for ways to get to know people experiencing homelessness and treat them with the love and dignity they deserve.
- Ralph Rowland