By Randy Teich
Looking behind the labels, Randy Teich offers us a different way of seeing each other when we look through the eyes of faith in action.
There are many truths in our society’s perception of our homeless and near homeless populations. Many suffer from alcohol and drug addiction. Many have mental illness. Many have not held a steady job during the last 10 years. Many have served time in our prison systems. Of course these same traits can be found in our more affluent and housed populations.
There are other traits that are commonly found in Austin’s homeless population. Many are students in our schools, trying to learn while experiencing frightening uncertainties. Many work one or more low paying jobs, working odd hours which makes sharing time with loved ones difficult. Many have job related injuries that prevent them from working. Most have lots of free time with few options to fill that time productively. Most have families who cannot afford to help them. None of these traits help in the development of self-esteem.
Many homeless have a college education. Many talk to the police when they see a crime and they see more than most because they are on the streets.
The volunteer leaders at the Feed My People breakfast encourage our guests to help keep the FUMC property clean. Most of our guests applaud our announcements and comment on those who don’t cooperate. A few guests receive stipends for sweeping, mopping, cleaning outside our building and the bathrooms (frequently gross!). They appreciate the opportunity to make a difference for us.
The truth is: homeless and near homeless aren’t that different from us.