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.

About The Author Staff

comments (1)

  • I agree with Pastor Brenda and truly feel that we as a society we must look beyond the label & see the person. None of us know what another person has been through to end up on the streets and if we just dug a little deeper we might see the truth rather than the myth. Perhaps there is fetal alcohol syndrome, a history of such horrible abuse it is a miracle they survived, PTSD or maybe what we see as drug or alcohol abuse is the only way this person is able to survive and make peace with the voices in their head for a moment. Mental illness is not a choice, schizophrenia is not a box any of us would check and yet there are times when the judgment of society makes it more acceptable to be a drug addict or an alcoholic rather than mentally ill. Could we open our hearts a little more and remember this person is someone’s child and no matter what God loves them too? I believe we can and will be better for trying.
    Cheryl Hopper

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