By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Joy Junction Inc.
Tel: 505 400 7145
Chronic homelessness could be non technically defined as people making excessive use of emergency medical services, and being in and out of jail.
The city’s commitment to such individuals is questionable.
City of Albuquerque Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano recently told an Albuquerque local news affiliate, “(Berry’s) … focus continues to be … helping the homeless, making sure that they have the dignity of work and those that are not committing or providing within the constraints of law that we are enforcing toward them.”
The unspoken intimation was that the chronic homeless (or those who don’t want to/can’t avail themselves of city help) are on their own.
And for those with mental health challenges, substance abuse issues and more; what’s their fate? Montano isn’t saying. Wonder why not?
We wanted to know whether some of our Joy Junction guests thought additional help from the city was necessary for some of these individuals, so we reached out to a few of them.
One woman said the city needs to help anyone who needs it. She added, “People need the tools to stop any addiction, and also to be more health conscious such as losing weight and eating healthy foods.”
Another woman said it would be a good thing to … maybe then we wouldn’t have so many of us in shelters, jail, streets, on drugs.”
One guy said , “No matter whom you are or where you come from, if you are homeless or a drug user or have a mental issue the city should not just push us from place to place. We are not going away. We are people too.”
One woman said she believes the city has a responsibility to help-especially those with mental health challenges.
Another person commented that it is almost like the city tries hard to ignore the problems, and judge them instead.
“People who are getting out of jail need to be reintegrated into society, not tossed out and ignored. People with addictions should be offered free treatment and not judged, and not put in a stereotypical category.”
Someone else said that people do need to make changes with their own lives.
She made an interesting point. “Yes, there should be programs to help people because you never know what person is going to be compliant and which person is not, and then at the same time somebody who was non compliant in the past be compliant now.”
One woman said help for the chronically homeless depends on those people who need the help.
“The city can help, but it all depends on the homeless person that wants help or just wants to remain on the streets just to get their fix. It is a choice that we all have to make, because it will affect the way we live and the choice we make.”
One woman addressed those who have done their time in jail, saying they need acceptance.
“Those that have been in jail need acceptance; they have paid their debt to society and unfortunately they are still treated as a criminal and majority of people believe that they will go back to doing the same thing. All of the ‘chronic homeless’ as they have been labeled by society first and foremost need more compassion.”
She added, “There needs to be the realization that they are humans and they have the same rights as others no matter their situation. A challenge for those in the city government, county government and even on the state level (would be) to strip yourselves for a day and a night of material possessions, and put yourself into the situation as a ‘chronic homeless’ then you might have your eyes opened to how the homeless feel, see and experience life.”
One man said, “I think it is the responsibility of human kind. Society has fallen so far from God that it has become about self. ‘I’ has become the reality that man sees. God’s majesty has been overlooked. The love, mercy and grace that He provides and gives us has been tossed aside for a new understanding that ‘man can live without God.’ In doing this we have created the ‘chronic homeless,’ drug addicts and mentally unstable individuals. Love for your neighbor has disappeared and ‘loving yourself’ has remained and has created a void; the bridge has collapsed.”
One guy had an interesting perspective.
“Believers in Christ are the ones who need to step up and do what we are called to do for the love of Christ. In order to help the chronic homeless we need to love them as ourselves … We must overcome evil with good. To depend on the city will only get us worldly results, but to trust in God we will receive everlasting life.”
What do you think?