I have served San Diego’s homeless community for the past thirteen years. What have I learned? The overwhelming majority of institutionally homeless persons in our urban centers are mentally ill.

This is the dirty little secret nobody wants to talk about. Why? Because mental illness is an enigma. How do you treat it? How do you make these people whole again? I can say this with certainty, there is no simple answer.

And for those who want to “fix the problem.” Good luck! In fact, I don’t believe mental illness can be fixed with drugs or any other synthetic man-made solution; it literally takes a miracle. That’s why I believe the focus shouldn’t be on housing or trying to make them into people they don’t want to be.

Our focus should be identifying, serving and educating homeless children and providing comfort and care to the adults. I define comfort and care as feeding them, clothing them, respecting them, loving them and decrimilizing their circumstances.

I want to stop right here and state that I admire and respect everyone doing their part. Further, the solution to homelessness is not owned by any one group, agency, religion or party. The final solution will take everyone’s cooperation.

With that said I do firmly believe that the visible Church of Jesus Christ must take the lead. Simply put, churches have the divine mandate, ecnomomic resources, square footage and human capital to serve every homeless person in all of San Diego County every day. No other singular organization or plurality of organizations has all of these commodities readily available at no additional cost to taxpayers.

These churches are churning out millions of dollars in the name of Jesus Christ often times literally pouring their cash back into building projects and causes abroad. I propose we put those buildings and multi-million dollar budgets to good use locally in our own backyard.

I’m not saying it will be easy, comfortable or even that our local churches are up to the task, I am saying they have the resources in spades. But unfortunately today’s average church attendee is more interested in a weekly cattle-call than obeying their scriptural calling.

Therefore, I call on all churches leaders and congregants in San Diego County to follow the call of scripture by forming a united front in the name of Jesus Christ to humbly serve those in our communities who need our help the most – with compassion and understanding.

Further, I encourage every interested individual and community group to hold our local churches and their leaders accountable to do the right thing.

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