The Church on Homelessness
The view of the church to the homeless is generous and envangelistic
commitment. The church also shows a special love for the poor. The church
just being there and its charitable help for the homeless shows what God
would want the church to do for the homeless.
The church is very conscious that the lack of decent housing threatens
the poor. The church is grateful for the creation of organizations that help to
make the right to housing possible for many homeless people.
Examples of such organizations are shelters and witness of the local
churches. Pope Paul VI himself personally promoted a program aimed at
providing housing for some families who were living in a Roman slum.
The concern of the church for housing for the homeless comes from
1) Adequate housing is important if a person is to find fulfillment, both
as an individual and as a member of a family and society.
2) The witness that the church seeks to give in helping in the search for
a solution to the problems of the poor is a sign of the presence of the kingdom
of salvation and liberation.
3) The mission of the church also consists in helping to make society
The Catholic Church agrees with these three ideas and also makes its
own judgement on the suffering of these millions of people. From the time of
the earliest Christian communities, the church has always shown a preference
for the poor, the needy, and on the outcasts of society. The way that the
church insists on reaching out to the poor through mission collections, food
pantries, and shelters shows the preferential love that the church has for these
people. The church has always appealed to government programs set up to
help the poor and has always supported cities to set up housing programs in
the poorest areas
As long as there are people without housing, Christians who have
dwellings are called upon to assist homeless persons to provide for their basic
needs. Many church congregations and ministry organizations of the Catholic
Church in America offer food, shelter, respect, care, and counseling to the
homeless. Many volunteers help in food pantries, shelters, group homes, and
other forms of service with the homeless. The Church as a whole has made a
very positive impact in the effort to eliminate homelessness.