Thursday, I listened to an absolutely amazing interview on OPB’s Think Out Loud (it’s a local radio show on Portland, Oregon’s local NPR affiliate) regarding why a Portland church will not be opening a warming shelter for the homeless this year. One of the biggest reasons they will not be opening this year: concerns about the safety of volunteers.
This heart-breaking interview shows why having a good heart and some willing volunteers is just NOT ENOUGH for certain critical community issues – and may even put volunteers in danger and enable the problems to continue. This interview also shows why the homeless need so much more than a warm place to sleep and a smile. It’s a painful reality check – and there are no winners.