Recent studies report there are roughly 71,575 people within families — or 55,739 family households — who are homeless.
With these staggering statistics, many people and organizations with a heart to help those who are homeless have set up resources to provide them with food and even shelter.
But time and time again, government bureaucrats come along and find some reason to “shut down” these groups – and here’s the latest story of yet another ministry told to “cease and desist.”
The homelessness crisis is so big – non-profit and Christian organizations aren’t waiting around for the government to sweep in and “save the day.”
Together, neighborhoods band together and do their part to help those in their community find resources.
One would think the government would welcome this, right?
Sadly, it seems time and time again that those who try to help the homeless get in trouble.
Remember the story of 78-year-old Norma Thornton who was arrested in a local park for feeding the homeless?
She would cook food in her kitchen and serve it to those who needed a hot meal – but because she didn’t have a “permit,” she was arrested.
… as if their meals should be rationed.
Here are people who see a need – and are doing their part to meet it – only to be threatened with fines or even arrested.
And now a local ministry in Tennessee is facing similar pushback.
The Father’s House is a homeless ministry of Living Water Full Gospel Church in Westmoreland, Tennessee and is run by a married couple who used to be addicts.
Since this couple personally walked through struggles in their own life and were redeemed by Jesus, they feel a special calling to help others escape homelessness and addiction.
The couple worked with the city to set up temporary housing for those in need and all was well until the city told them to “cease and desist.”
The ministry is now being represented by attorney Ryan Gardner with First Liberty who spoke about the blatant religious discrimination this ministry is experiencing.
“[They] went on to get approval from the Tennessee Department of Corrections to be transitional housing for the very type of men that they’re targeting to help,” he said. “And after all of this happened, the city suddenly changed its tune and said that they needed to install sprinklers and a firewall in the facility at a cost [of] about $85,000, which would just be crippling to them.”
Gardner said the city has expressed worries over fire safety inside the building, though he believes officials are “misapplying [their] own code,” and he pondered whether there might be religious hostility toward the ministry or the “types of people that they’re trying to house.”
It seems like whenever people try to be part of the solution for the homelessness crisis, they’re punished.
At present moment, The Father’s House is not able to operate because they can’t pay the crippling fees being imposed by the city.
Let’s pray the city will change its tune and this wonderful ministry can get back to helping people get off the streets and showing them the tangible love of Christ.
Why do you think the government continues to punish people helping the homeless?
What do you think the solution is to the homelessness crisis?
You can post your answers to our Facebook page and join in the conversation with other believers from all around the world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
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