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Homeless and Personal Responsibility

Homelessness in Merced - a big issue that we, as community members, are now responsible for. But is it really my responsibility?

Where do I fit in the whole picture? I certainly want to help people who want to get out of their desperate places, but I am unwilling to 'fix' the problem for people who really don't want to change. We all are created in God's image, we all have made poor choices in life, and we all live under grace. We are one community, needing to work together to assist each other to live healthy, productive lives. We need to provide resources and opportunities that assist everyone to take the steps necessary to discover their God given gifts, talents and abilities. But keeping all that in mind, I wonder how much we need to do for people who don't want to change. When does personal response-ability come in place? The bigger issues are: Where do registered sex-offenders live? Where do people find work when the unemployment is hitting 20%? What happens to people with mental disabilities and PTSD? I don't have answers for all those questions, but neither do I see that many of the people who have those issues to deal with really want to take the steps necessary to improve their lives. It seems so easy to make the city, county/state/community members responsible for solving the issue of homelessness. We have a brand new homeless shelter where people can stay up to 5 months that almost always has openings and there are several excuses that keep people from taking advantage of it. One: they don't take animals. Are they the only people who have to make sacrifices? What about the many families who have to move from a house to an apartment being unable to keep their animals? Two: it is a limited stay (5 months). But, they have computers, training, health care, a weekly one-stop center, a clean bed, meals and laundry and shower facilities. Three: they have too much drama. Welcome to the human race! Where does the personal responsibility come in here? At the Rescue Mission men and women can get a 12-18 month Christian program that provides growth not only in interpersonal issues but also life skills and job skills, it provides a structured environment with meals and training. Both programs have rules and regulations, both programs are supported by many community members to make it possible, both programs have been successful (when people have taken responsibility)....what more do the homeless need? Having been homeless myself, I have a special passion for the people on the street, but I have also talked with enough homeless people to know that there are choices being made... the choice to stay on the street because it provides freedom, freedom to do whatever they please (drugs, sex, friendships, no responsibilities etc). So I guess my question is: if the homeless choose to live a certain lifestyle, why am I being made responsible for them? If they do not want to make some tough choices (e.g. give up the dog for 1 year) why should I be responsible for it. In my personal life I have to make choices every day. How I spend my money, my time, my resources. I would like to do certain things at certain times.... but as I count the cost and evaluate the benefits vs the risks.... I choose not to. So, bring it on! Let's help the homeless who want to change and I will gladly do whatever is in my power to assist them, but please don't make me responsible for people who are only making excuses and are really only looking for a hand-out instead of a hand-up. I am not willing to spend my energies and resources on people who don't want to do their part. We humans are created in God's image with the abilities to choose, to reason, to be responsible, if we take those response-abilities away from people we are taking away their humanity as well.

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