By Martin Barrett
Residents gather to Host the Homeless
On Tuesday evening, March 28, four churches and nonprofit organizations invited their friends camping at City Hall to dinner. Rather than expecting the campers to come to an offsite location, the coalition went to the tents.
“The love of Jesus motivates us to care for these folks. We see each as created in God’s image, and we want to see them restored. But that only happens with relationships. Jesus said, ‘My sheep know My name, a stranger they simply will not follow.’ We have been out here for three months building relationships, letting them know our voice, and growing trust”, said Joseph Riverson of Hope Christian Community and Samaritan Worldview. “On Friday when they are evicted, we do not just want them to go to another encampment or set up shop in another location on the streets, where they just continue the status quo, delving deeper and deeper into addictions and base survival mode. But why would they come if we were strangers? They will not follow the voice of a stranger. But now we are friends”, added Riverson.
“Multiple churches, nonprofit organizations, members of the city government, leaders in the library, Burien residents, and local volunteers all got together, sat down at a table with our homeless neighbors, and had a meal together (everything from lasagna to pizza, meatballs, garlic bread, donuts, etc.)The table was set, the invitation extended, and they came. Deep conversations took place, and an alternative to the status quo was presented. Many were surprised and accepted”, an excited Riverson added.
Mixed in the group were street-wise veterans helping folks go through the tough detox process. Many of them understand the process from personal experience. There were also professional counselors.
“Quite frankly, we don’t know how this will turn out. I’ve had all those thoughts, ‘What if no one comes? What if something goes wrong? What if people don’t sign up to help? What if they don’t continue into a longer-term recovery program?’ We could play the “what-if” game all day long, but at the end of the day, I’m confident that this is a new thing that God is calling us to. Taking risks is just part of following Jesus. Thankfully, He still does miracles today. Even if just one person is set free from the hell they’re living in, we’ll give God praise for it”, said Seth Thomas, pastor at Hope Christian Community and the leader who has rallied this coalition of friends to take on this need.
Below is coverage from other news sources regarding this story:
SIGNS OF HOPE IN #BURIEN: At this point, the homeless know they cannot stay outside the Library & City Hall. Most of the men and women are preparing to leave by the end of the month. But where will they go? Even though Burien is in King County, neighbors say they have not seen a… pic.twitter.com/Ey17IP2UIY
— Jonathan Choe Journalist (Seattle) (@choeshow) March 29, 2023
LINK TO KOMO NEWS STORY: https://komonews.com/news/local/homeless-crisis-encampment-burien-shelter-treatment-business-owners-city-hall-homeless-camp-public-safety-concerns-police-drugs-tents-housing-washington#