Anawim has done many things to help the homeless community that we serve.
We provide a place for them to shower, get clothes, cook food and get sleep during the day. And city leaders tell the neighbors that we are drawing the homeless to Gresham, rather than serving the homeless who are there.
A police officer comes over to our congregation and threatens them with arrest, until I approach him and ask him to leave because we don’t allow threats on our property. By anyone.
We arranged with the city to allow our pastor to live in his RV on church property, and he provided overnight security,and we are given fines and threats by the city.
We allowed two of the homeless who worked full time keeping the property clean to stay in our residence and we were told that we couldn’t do that, that we should make our full time workers homeless again.
Officers falsely testify that people come to our property to buy and sell drugs, when we have trained security to prevent just that.
Police have dropped people off on our property because they had no where else to go, and then we are fined for having people on our property.
When the homeless are harassed by the police in our community, then we have allowed the homeless to sleep overnight. But neighbors would come over to our property and violently threaten our people.
Our pastors’ lives have been threatened, we receive a new complaint from the city every month, we have been told that we are the major problem in our city. We have been screamed at by neighbors and the police.
We understand. Jesus said that those who did His work would be persecuted. But if any church wants to help the homeless, to provide real, survival opportunities for the outcast, expect to be attacked. Don’t fear it. We survived. You can too. But be ready for it.
I was homeless for a couple of years. I slept hidden behind bushes alongside interstates, hitchhiked, hopped freights, was in jail for a total of 3 months, and finally wound up in Seattle in the depths of winter on the streets. They let me into the Union Gospel Mission for a couple of weeks until I got some work. Then, one night I missed my bus and didn’t get back by curfew. They threw me out.
I was robbed and lost my ID. I got pneumonia and went to the hospital. Feds came and questioned me. Thought I was a local “terrorist”. Told me to come in for questioning when I got out. I took my ruck, crossing the I-5 overpass, and decided to jump. Emptying everything I had that might connect me to my past, I found the Bible my grandma had given me. I couldn’t do it.
I went into the FBI. They accused me, and booked me into King County Jail for a couple of months to rot. Then I was extradited to another state. The judge threatened to send me to prison if I didn’t enroll in the military and go against my conscience. I enlisted for 3 years. It was there I gave my life to Christ. It has been a long journey getting off the of the streets. It ain’t easy, and there was nobody to help me along the way. Wherever you can, lend a hand.