Coastal Voices: All homeless deserve help

February 13, 2007 12:00 am

By Rev. Rachel Justice

If you have been watching the Letters to the Editor section lately, you have been given a perfect example of what we at Our Daily Bread Ministries and all who help the poor face on a regular basis. Thankfully, the majority of our community support helping the poor and homeless, but there is a substantial amount of people with the opposite view on every level of our community.

Therefore, while we have been helped for the most part by the powers that be, we do receive opposition in that and all other areas of public relations. This is to be expected, and we certainly are not here to point fingers.

I really appreciated Doug Morgan's column ("Don't cater to irresponsible," Feb. 2) that laid out very clearly for everyone the philosophy by which we and prayerfully other organizations operate by. There is most definitely a line between helping and enabling. We here at Our Daily Bread must deal with that responsibility on a daily basis. It does no good for the individual or for our community to help someone who won't help themselves.

But the view that homelessness and poverty is always a choice and need not be ministered to must have originated from some semblance of rational thinking, it is a thoroughly uneducated point of view. These people may be otherwise intelligent, but they obviously have never given time to research this problem. They surely have not spent time with many people in the homeless and impoverished situation.

The assumption that if we cater to the needs of these people, they will stay in our area instead of moving on is ridiculous. The great majority of them were born and raised here or are long-time residents, so they are here to stay regardless of resources offered to them. They have family and friends here. Del Norte County is their home regardless if they have a roof over their heads or not.

Clearly evident to me first and foremost, the letter writers that are against helping the less fortunate have definitely not been reading their Bible. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves and everyone deserves a second chance at living as a productive member of our society.

Rev. Rachel Justice heads Our Daily Bread Ministries in Crescent City.