Friendship on the Streets

The Community is strongly committed to being a true friend to the homeless – giving them the respect and warmth that their dignity as human beings commands. Each member of the Community shares this solidarity toward those who live on the streets, also by simply offering them alms, a smile, or a kind word.

Almsgiving is a very important act in Christian life. It is a gesture that shows empathy with the plight of the less fortunate; it creates a bond, though short and occasional, with the poor. Almsgiving is solidarity its simplest form.

Loneliness and isolation are a condition common to all the homeless. Many in fact feel completely cut off from the world in general. Stopping and exchanging some words may seem little in a life full of relations, but for someone living on the street those few words may be the only human interaction they have. The homeless speak only to ask for help. Nobody calls them by name. Name recognition attests to the importance of a person as a human being. Greeting someone is a humane and decent thing to do: introducing oneself and asking for a person’s name. Breaking the prison of contempt in which these people are confined is as simple as that: giving them the respect and recognition to which each and every human being is entitled. This is the first thing we can do to alleviate the conditions of these unfortunate brethren of ours.

Anyone in a situation of hardship needs a helping hand. Life for people who live on the streets is a constant struggle against problems impossible for them to solve alone: surviving, establishing a contact, the intolerance of the surrounding world. Having someone to turn to for help, someone who can listen without presuming to know the answer is as rare as it is paramount.

It is not true that those who live like that have lost their desire to live a normal life. It is that the sheer amount of problems they must deal with and the lack of support cause a sort of despair that may be thought of as resignation.

A loyal friendship and the careful search for solutions to the unique problems of each individual, even in situation that seem impossible to change at first, are the base for a better future. These friendships require a humane approach, constant dedication and patience.