"I want to be very clear. We can’t find any social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever for lack of housing,”
Pope Francis, Sept. 24, 2015, Washington, D.C.
We could not have said this better – it reflects precisely our philosophy here at Beacon. Personally, as a Catholic myself, I was bursting with pride to hear the Pope yesterday speak truth to power. He gently but unequivocally reminded our US Congress that with great privilege and wealth comes great responsibility to care for the basic needs of so many in our world without shelter, food, safety.
There are so many reasons why people end up without a home. We have heard many of them from people in our housing and Families Moving Forward programs.
John, in his 50s, told us that he was homeless since he was 16, when he left home because of an angry, abusive father – and until finding Beacon’s American House, was homeless for much of his adult life.
Jackie, a working mom, lost her job – and the apartment where she and her 6-year-old son lived. She was pregnant. It took her a couple of years in shelters and transitional housing before finding something she could afford on a housekeeper’s wage.
And Thomas, 20, grew up without much love shown to him, in tough circumstances, bouncing from foster families to his birth family – which unfortunately didn’t offer him a safe and nurturing environment. He needed a place to live, learn and grow and he finally found that at Nicollet Square.
I am grateful to Pope Francis for using his position of power to speak of people like John, Jackie and Thomas and so many others in great need, right in the shadow of the most influential, powerful place in our nation, our Capitol, with cameras and mics trained on him from all parts of the globe.
Back here in our little corner of the world, we can at least do the same – proclaim that there is no moral or social justification for homelessness. The only reason it exists, as Lee Blons often says, is because we allow it.
We can change that. We are on it.