Pastor Brenda Bos, Christ Lutheran Church, San Clemente
Thank you for your cover story “The Humane Condition” in your April 12-18 issue of the San Clemente Times. It’s important we know the stories of those who live on the street. We are in trouble as a society when we lump everyone together as “the homeless” or talk about “the homeless problem.” As soon as we forget they are real people with real stories, we are destined to dehumanize them to the point of disregard or even violence.
Gandhi said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”
The people who live on our streets are our most vulnerable. They may have unfortunate ways of expressing that, which might include antisocial or disruptive behavior. Our homeless need specific, individualized care, not hatred. We need to bring them into a relationship on whatever level they can receive it.
I am glad Orange County leaders are making real strides to offer housing and additional services to our weakest members. Yes, it’s true, there are people living on the street who tell us they prefer the carefree lifestyle, but please consider anyone who lives outside away from people has had many unfortunate circumstances or decisions that led to their situation. As a society, we need to offer thoughtful compassion, even to those who live differently than we do.
I am hoping the city of San Clemente will follow the lead of neighboring cities and offer permanent supported housing as well as mental health and addiction services. We are so blessed to live here; we have a moral imperative to care for those who do not have enough.