I’ve talked with a few homeless people, and too many abuse the system, but not all of them. At the place that gives phones to the homeless, a woman in her early forties was crying uncontrollably. I asked what’s going on, and she told me of meeting someone she thought was her soulmate but got her hooked on drugs, used her as a sex slave, and stole all her possessions.
We prayed and discussed the love of God. She said she had gone to a church in Santa Maria without any shoes, and they called the police because they thought she was crazy. She had been a nurse and has children. She was catching a bus back to Santa Maria, and she would be outside that night.
This is the second time I have heard a church turned a woman away; the others were in Santa Barbara. People coming there are looking for hope, compassion, help, comfort, safety, and God. If a church does not have a plan of what to do with a homeless person, it is past time to make one. Other women will come to church expecting help.
I also volunteer for a prison release program. For some reason, they release prisoners from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. One night a young man from Ventura was released at 3 p.m. He had no money, and no phone so he borrowed mine to call his girlfriend and try to get a ride downtown to the bus station. While he was in jail two months, he lost his job and his apartment.
In this work, I’ve seen four to five homeless women released from the jail. One had been a church member before she became homeless. She was in her 40’s and was still attractive although her hard life was showing. Please, churches, don’t ignore these needy people.