Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Are Your Ideas?

As World Homeless Action Day approaches, we're offering a lot of ideas to help you participate.

We bet you're even more innovative, creative and resourceful than we are.  What ideas can you come up with?
  • What would you try if you knew it would succeed?  
  • What could your church, business, neighborhood or family do as a project together?
  • What's one simple thing that you could do?
  • What relational gift could you give a homeless person -- not just meeting their physical need, but also helping them feel seen, loved and listened to?

Share some ideas in the comments below...


Rev Cynthia said...

Having been homeless in the past myself, I found that the biggest thing for me was just to be seen and treated like any person, who is housed. Now, I make a point of at least acknowledging people, who appear to be homeless, and engaging in conversation, where appropriate. Middle-aged and elderly women, like me, are the easiest for me to talk to, just because I relate to them.

Portland Rescue Mission said...

Thanks, Cynthia. What tips can you share with us about how to start a conversation? Are there good questions that help break the ice?

Rev. Cynthia said...

Quite honestly, I typically ask for Divine guidance as to whether it is appropriate to approach a stranger & if so, what should come out of my mouth? It seems like I usually run into someone on the sidewalk downtown & start by stopping to just say "Hi" with a smile. Often, the other person will say something & a conversation can start from that. Otherwise, I can say, "How is your day going?" I have a walker that has a seat on it, so sometimes I will sit down next to them and listen to what they have to say. I will usually offer my first name. How do I decide who to approach? Its easy to make an awful lot of assumptions, based on stereotypes, as to who we think might be homeless. And, in the end, the person may or may not be homeless

Eric said...

Being able to offer something is a good icebreaker. Whether you share a cigarette, a cookie, a beer, or some socks, offering a gift is a great way to start a conversation. I usually like to get a little bit of history or a story.

Rev.Cynthia said...

Would just like to add, that regardless of one's situation, there is always something we can do to be of service. For example, I'm on a fixed income and have limited mobility, but regardless of those things, I managed to start a nonprofit that creates knitted & crocheted items and donates those, as well as new inspirational books to shelters for homeless families & survivors of domestic violence. Among our volunteers, are folks who know how to knit/crochet;who are learning how to knit/crochet; or who are donating skeins of yarn or books. Everyone can do something. And, if you feel like you have nothing to give, then give someone on the street a smile. For all you know, they may have been on the verge of suicide, but your smile made them feel valued & they changed their mind - its happened to me (whoever the "Earth Angel" was that smiled at me that day, "Thank You!").

Portland Rescue Mission said...

Eric - Right on. Having something to offer is a great ice breaker to conversation.

Cynthia - Yes! We can ALL do something.

Executive Director said...

The Hearts Of Fire Project will be visiting Portland Sept. 25-27 during our World Homeless Day Tour 2010. We are scheduled to stop at Operation Nightwatch, Sisters Of The Road and My Father's House.

We will be empowering people through artistic self-expression and are looking for a place to do a one-night art show event on the 27th.

Hope to meet lots of great folks while we are there.