There is a crisis of homelessness happening across the country, and many Christians wonder what can and should be done. This is an important question because not all attempts at helping the homeless are equally beneficial nor are they equally consistent with a biblical worldview. Homelessness is a complex issue, but in my latest podcast episode, I have a guest who is well qualified to help us think more biblically about it and better understand the nuances of the problem.
My guest, Bryan Crain, has been involved in homeless ministry for more than a decade and has a wealth of knowledge about and personal experience with the many issues involved in helping people get off the streets. He’s currently the Chief Operating Officer of the Orange County Rescue Mission, one of the largest Rescue Missions in the country. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because yes, he happens to be my husband!
There are three parts to this episode. In the first part, we discuss the Orange County Rescue Mission, where Bryan works, because it’s a great example of a faith-based program that is successfully helping people get off the streets. In the second part, we contrast that with secular homeless approaches such as “housing first” and “harm reduction” to see how worldview really does drive how we help people. And in the third part, Bryan answers a bunch of different questions that podcast listeners asked through my author Facebook page. While we couldn’t hit every question asked (over 130 people had one!), we talked about quite a few of wide interest, such as:
- What do you do to help a homeless person you see on the street or freeway? What should you/should you not give them? How do you help without enabling? What programs can you direct them to?
- What do we do about crime increases due to the homelessness crisis?
- How do we get local/state government to recognize the flaws in current secular approaches and start looking at alternatives?
- Are “tiny home” communities effective?
- Why does progressivism always seem to creep into Christian social services (whether related to homelessness or anything else)?
- How should pastors/churches handle requests from homeless people in order to help but not create dependence? What kinds of conversations should take place?
- How do you best help an addicted family member without enabling?
There’s an enormous amount of helpful perspective in this episode. Parents, it’s also a GREAT episode to listen to with your kids, as it will get them thinking about how worldview even drives how we help people on the streets.
Listen below in your browser, or check it out on your podcast player. Search for The Natasha Crain Podcast and be sure to subscribe/set notifications to see new episodes as soon as they’re out!
MENTIONED IN THE SHOW:
- Orange County Rescue Mission (OCRM): https://www.rescuemission.org/
- Video from OCRM graduation (includes several stories of graduates): https://www.rescuemission.org/video/2021-fall-graduation-orange-county-rescue-mission/
- Directory of Gospel Rescue Missions nationwide: https://www.citygatenetwork.org/agrm/Locate_a_Mission.asp
- Donate to OCRM: https://www.rescuemission.org/give-now/
- When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
- Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton