With regard to my strong belief that Christians ought not expect the government to handle the mercy and justice aspects of the Church’s mission, I need to vent. I came across a news item today providing information that just astounds me in it’s abject stupidity.
Churches forced to boot homeless
As temperatures fall and the economy crashes, 22 city churches have been told to stop providing beds for the homeless, advocates for the poor charged Friday.
“We will see hundreds of people who will not have a place to sleep. It’s antithetical to what the mayor talks about,” said Arnold Cohen, president of the Partnership for the Homeless, a nonprofit that serves as the middleman between the city and faith-based shelters.
The city recently began enforcing an often-overlooked rule that requires faith-based shelters to open five days a week, said Cohen who told a score of churches last month they no longer qualify to house the homeless.
The city Department of Homeless Services said these shelters – many that have been open three nights a week for decades – should never have been allowed to operate under terms of a contract with the Partnership.
Help me understand…please… why these volunteer-staffed, faith-based organization sponsored shelters that aren’t open 5 nights per week, but have been open 3 nights per week for years, they have to be closed? When it’s below freezing outside? When they meet all reasonable heath and safety standards? When homelessness in New York City is climbing at a record rate?
If there is a bona fide reason for this, I’d love to hear it. I searched for quite a while and couldn’t find documentation of this rule even actually existing.
My real question is, however, NY City Church… what are you going to do about it? Are you going to let the arbitrary rule keep you from serving your neighbors in need?