I believe that we are all 30 seconds from disaster. Just a moment, either by our own hands or that of circumstances that could change the rest of our lives forever. Some of which we can prepare for through savings, insurance, or even a good attorney. But others require more heavy lifting that the previously mentioned cannot solve.
Things that require a support system based on love and care.
The cost of the homeless can be measured financially.
Ray Steadman, the Executive Director of Gospel Inc. helped me understand that the average cost nationally of a homeless person to their community is roughly $35,000 annually. This cost is accrued from the work of first responders, city maintenance, and local health services. Gospel Inc., through Gospel Village, has positioned itself to take on that cost and more for the long term. This is not a recovery program or one geared to get people back on their feet.
Their ministry is aimed explicitly at the heart of walking alongside individuals through the rest of their lives as they live within the village. Their residents are given a place to live, healthcare, and food at little to no cost. They also provide opportunities for their residents to work for a fair wage, allowing them to gain the dignity of work and produce something of value. But this is not an exile and a way to move a difficult issue out of plain sight. Rather, the village offers stability in a place to live, people to care for their needs, and an outlet to find value in their own hands.
Gospel Inc. offers something many of us have provided to us daily through what we would consider normal build-ins of the family we were born into or the friends we’ve met along the way.
But others are not as fortunate. As humans, none of us are without a cost. To say it another way: “There but for the grace of God, go I.” I cannot fathom the social debt I’ve incurred from the goodwill spent on me by my parents, siblings, friends, and especially my wife. The same could be said for all of us. But when you add in mental health issues, trauma, or addiction, the requirement becomes far more complex if those structures are not in place. As a communal creature, we need the value of others.
The mission of Gospel Village speaks to the beauty of philanthropy.
To step out and bear the cost of others financially, with our time or our abilities, without the expectation of re-payment. These people, the residents of Gospel Village, are our neighbors. Their cause is one of humanity and lives deeply within us all. The need to belong, to be loved where we are, regardless of who we are.