Worth quoting: “The only major difference between people who are experiencing homelessness and people who are not is that the struggles of homeless people are always on display, always available to the public eye. There is no privacy to being homeless. Your suffering cannot be hidden behind closed doors. Your trials — mental illness, addiction, financial insecurity, abuse, family tragedy, disease — are there for everyone to see…”
The following was published in The Gainesville Sun, my local daily newspaper, on the op-ed page on Sunday, March 8.
I first started working with people who were homeless 25 years ago, when I was a junior at the University of Florida. My mom had shared stories with me about her mother, about the hardships my grandmother had undergone as a pregnant teenager, then a single mom, and I knew that she had spent time in shelters when things had really hit rock bottom.
Those stories, plus the stories of my own faith that had oriented me to the responsibility we have to care for those who are struggling and suffering among us, led me to start volunteering at St. Francis House in 1989.
When I read articles about the homeless or see news reports on local TV, I often recognize some of the men and women interviewed or…
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