Continuing on our theme of poverty alleviation through relief, rehabilitation and development, consider this excerpt from Corbett and Fikkert’s When Helping Hurts:
“Once relief efforts have stopped the bleeding, it is time to move quickly into rehabilitation, working with, not for, people to help them return to the positive elements of their precrisis conditions. Again, rehabilitation must be done in a way consistent with the long-run goal of poverty alleviation: low-income people and ourselves increasingly glorifying God through reconciling relationships with God, self, other, and the rest of creation.”
A very good example of this in our own community is the CAPS Night Stay Program. During a typical season, churches open their doors to the homeless, feed them, and minister to them as needed. The shelter and meal aspects of the Night Stay Program are relief in nature. The conversations had with guests and the prayers offered up on their behalf are part of rehabilitation.
This past winter season, our churches had very little if no direct contact with shelter participants due to the pandemic. As a result, a vital piece of helping people without hurting them was missing. Currently this same shelter model will be available in our city through the Suffolk Christian Fellowship Center. It is our desire to supplement the efforts of SCFC this winter by providing support through communication with the community to help feed the participants housed in hotels, and also to provide some help with resources for stable housing.
Our regular Night Stay Program will be available on a very limited basis this year. We still have churches who have participated in the past who are hesitant to ask their congregations to try to mitigate exposure to a very contagious virus. But we do encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to do what they can, and the biggest need is food.
Prayer is also needed. We ask that you include the homeless in Suffolk in your daily prayers. Pray that they will respond with open hearts to moving forward in stabilizing their shelter needs. Pray that CAPS, SCFC and other organizations working directly with the homeless will be equipped to provide the holistic support so many need.