Homelessness is an imminent social issue in the modern world. This issue is a result of the high rate of unemployment in the society and the high cost of living. Homelessness is also common among orphans and runaways who have lived in the streets for a long time. It follows that homelessness results in the victims engaging in some illegal practices like drug peddling, prostitution, and stealing to earn a living.
While this issue is present in most cities across the world, the homeless people are viewed as a burden to the society, and a nuisance because of their begging habits. Many people in the society prescribe to the stereotype that the unfortunate homeless people are just lazy and unwilling to get jobs to liberate themselves from poverty. The reality of the issue is that some of the homeless people are hard working people who are yet to secure a good job, whereas others just need help from the society to get back on their feet.
Homeless people suffer from hunger, and their lives are always at risk from harsh living conditions. The victims live in the streets, and they normally suffer when the weather is too harsh, especially in cold nights. Security for the homeless people in the streets is also a major worry for the victims. This paper looks into homelessness as one of the pressing social problems of the modern world.
My Episcopal Community Service
My Episcopal community service involved helping the homeless people in the society. I was part of a project that looked into feeding the homeless people in the community. I volunteered in a charity project for two hours every Thursday for a total of 25 hours. The project provided a learning opportunity for me because it presented an opportunity to interact with the homeless people.
During the interactions I had with the respective homeless people, it became apparent that not all street dwellers are dangerous criminals. I used to fear the homeless people sleeping in the streets, but now I sympathize with their situations. The project has enabled me to understand some of the underlying problems that have led to the social issue of homelessness. One of the eminent issues leading to homelessness in the society is the high cost of living.
According to research conducted within the project, the cost of a decent meal in the community is very high, and most people struggle to buy food. It is also apparent that the low-cost meals from the grocery stores do not include fresh products. For instance, vegetables available in stores frequented by the homeless people are seldom fresh. Food and health care services are not accessible to the homeless people, and this has challenged most caring people in the society to develop charity projects.
Common good and charitable work
In my Episcopal community service, the task delegated to me was the preparation of cutlery. I also helped with serving food to the homeless people who attended the charity project. During this activity, I observed that there are very many homeless people in the society. The most alarming finding is that the homeless society in the community is not only comprised of the old and poor people, but it also has many young people.
Our project was geared toward helping the homeless as instructed in the Catholic Social Teachings (CST). The project focused on doing the common good to help the poor and homeless people get through their week with at least one good meal. It was apparent that the charity work was not enough to sustain the homeless people for a week, but the victims of homelessness appreciated our effort.
The driving force for the volunteers in the project was the need to become part of the solution developers for the extreme poverty faced by the homeless people. We were compelled to take a step toward alleviating the poor living conditions for the homeless people as advocated in the CST. The society has been organized in a manner that leaves many people economically disadvantaged.
Issues like unemployment are the underlying causes of homelessness in the society, but nobody seemed to be concerned about the issues. This issue has led to the development of social classes that act as boundaries between people. While Catholic Social Teachings call for the people in the society to promote equality, the poor people in the society are seen as a nuisance to the financially liberated members of the society.
Christian rights and duties
One of the themes of the CST is community participation in empowering the poor. The CST emphasizes on the participation of individuals in the society in the quest of attaining the common good of the entire society. The teachings, particularly emphasize that members of the society should help the poor people to liberate themselves from their economic situation.
The teachings also call for Christians to look into saving the vulnerable members of the society from their problems. Our project worked under this theme, and we were compelled to help the vulnerable street dwellers. Lack of food among the homeless people is a social problem that can be solved through the joint efforts of the people in the society.
The financially enabled people in the society should take part in donating food to the homeless people because it is their Christian duty. One of the traditions among Catholic followers is the evaluation of their morals. According to the CST, the level of morality in the Christian society is highlighted by the quality of life experienced by vulnerable people in the society.
In the current society, the homeless people are the most vulnerable people. It is the duty of every Christian to take part in efforts to improve living conditions of vulnerable people in the society. My Episcopal community service gave me that chance to stand counted as one of the people who have taken up the responsibility to help the underprivileged.
Human dignity is also a theme in the Catholic Social Teachings. The theme emphasizes on treating everyone in the society with respect and dignity. During my interaction with some of the homeless people in the charity project, I realized that some of the people had temporary jobs. They revealed that their working conditions were poor, and they were paid very low salaries that could barely enable them to secure a sustaining meal.
It is apparent that whoever pays the homeless people is aware that the low wages cannot sustain them, and it is sad that they continue to offer the same. Christian morals compel the society to ensure that employees are treated with dignity, and part of this is to ensure the wages paid to the lowest level employees can sustain their lives. One of our experiments within the charity project was to investigate the price of basic foodstuff from the local grocery stores.
The findings of the investigation revealed that the price of a single meal for the homeless people is higher that what the majority of the temporary workers make in a day. This information reveals that even with the temporary jobs, the homeless people cannot afford a decent meal.
Solidarity in the society has gradually been eroded by the existence of social classes. The poor continue getting poorer, whereas the rich continue getting richer. While there are few people in the society with the natural mentality of developing projects to enhance solidarity in helping the poor, others remain ignorant of the fact that Christians should assume cohesion.
The Episcopal community service provided a unique opportunity for me and my colleagues to mingle with the homeless people, and to understand their social issues. Most of the homeless people claimed that they felt neglected by the government and the people in the society because of their poor living conditions. They felt judged by the society because of their dressing, begging, and their presence in the streets.
The homeless people in the project appreciated our effort, and they termed it as a positive way for Christians to develop better relationships with the poor and vulnerable members of the society. The Episcopal community service and the Catholic Social Teachings have prepared me to take up the responsibility of taking care of the helpless people in the society. I am ready to guide other people in the society toward taking up their responsibilities as Christians.