Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Tri-Cities doing too little to help homeless

Dear Editor:

A friend of mine who is over 60 years old was informed the other day that he would be homeless in two days. You see he and I worked together when I lived in MI. We worked at the same factory; however because of his age he was slower than the younger employees, so they let him go. He was a casualty of the downturn economy.
He went to college, learned computers, and had his own business, a wife, and a nice house on the river; then he lost it all when his business went under. He also lost his wife when she divorced him. He was destitute and living in the garage of an employee where I worked. He was told he would have to leave the garage and then he got fired all in the same week. I moved him in with me and realized he would never find work in MI so I prayed about what to do so I sent him to TN where people I thought were friendlier and more caring. Being from TN, born and raised in Johnson City, I was of course biased. Well, he moved here and found a little job at a chain restaurant and a little house where a woman offered to let a homeless person live until they could get on their feet. She has a family member needing a place to stay now, and this is where the real problems with the tri-cities area begin.
He is being kicked out of his house. I recently moved back to TN and he called and told me he needed to be out in two days, so I immediately began calling every number I can think of to reach out and try and prevent this man from becoming homeless and guess what? In all the programs TN has, none are set up to prevent homelessness. I started with the Department of Human Services and went from there. Everywhere I turned the same answer came back: he needs to be homeless first, then we can do something. Then all the red tape started. Here is a man who is working and paying the utilities on this house where he lived, even putting in an expensive water heater, has his own car, not living on welfare, and still there is no help to keep him from living on the street! And they call this the Bible Belt. There is no way with a 28-hour-a-week job at minimum wage that he can come up with first month’s rent and deposit for another place to live in only two days.
I am a Christian. The first church I attended was Solid Rock Full Gospel Church on Market Street in Johnson City. The Lord led me to MI where I preached for a year, and when I was done, He led me back home. So now my question is, “Where is the real Church here in this Bible Belt?”
I thought about it, and if every church in the tri-cities put aside their petty theologies and focused on the real mission of being a Christian, then there would not be any poverty or homeless people here. Oh, I am not naïve. I know there will always be those that take advantage of the system, but really, did Jesus put so much red tape on taking care of the poor? The churches today are nothing more than members-only clubs, and if you don’t believe their way then you’re wrong. How ridiculous is this? This is not Christ like and it is in no way Christian thinking. Something is really wrong in the church world today. The church is the laziest group of people alive. Every minority group in the world stands up for what they believe, but the church sits quietly and lets the Ten Commandments be removed from parking lots, sits quietly while same sexes are allowed to be married, and they allow unborn babies to not be born. It is this reason why the church is falling away; all they want now is a membership. They want to be on television, radio, they want to be seen on the internet. They want to reach out to other countries instead of helping people right here in their own back yard. They would rather build additions to their already enormous church instead of putting money into programs to help families who have lost jobs try and get homes, to get children off the streets. It is almost disgusting the direction the church Jesus Christ started is heading in. It’s all about glamour and glitz, nothing more.
I am not talking about the Catholics or any other giant church. No, I am I am talking about the hundreds of small churches just in the tri-cities alone. They can never have any kind of coalition because someone always wants to be in charge and have control, and if they can’t, they want no part of it. People, we need to rethink our faith. Where is it? The church should own homes to help get people off the streets – people that have lost jobs due to the economy, things that they have no control over. I cannot stress this enough: It is not the government’s job to take care of people. It is the Christians’ job to take care of God’s people! If you don’t believe me, just read your Bible.
“Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” Matthew 19:21. That should say it all.

Tim Simpson
Kingsport, TN