In the last month the Cherokee Tribune Newspaper and The Cherokee Ledger-News have brought much attention to the homeless camps in Canton. It all started when the Mayor visited one of the homeless camps and had his eyes opened.
Education and awareness are good things.
As a result, organizations have come together to facilitate the opening of an emergency shelter. Canton’s emergency shelter will be a place for individuals to come out of the cold and be safe during cold snaps and will provide the most basic human needs, warmth and shelter.
This shelter is a good thing.
In this week’s Cherokee Ledger-News, additional print space was given to the shelter opening. Many details were shared and more information was given. But on Page 12, right below the “Shelter” article there was a small blurb titled, “Woodstock considers homeless ordinance”.
I guess it was just a matter of time.
The reality is, each city should have a homeless ordinance. All societies have rules and regulations, it’s part of what makes us civilized. However I wonder if all of this publicity and notoriety has done my homeless friends any favors. I wonder if it is a good thing.
In the last month, the privacy of these homeless men has been invaded multiple times and their dignity has certainly taken a beating. I can only imagine how humiliated these men were when they saw pictures of their dirty laundry hanging in the trees plastered all over the front page of a newspaper. Many folks have ventured into the homeless camps in the last few weeks with intentions of “doing good things” but the reality is these men just want to be left alone. They’ve told us this on more than one occasion. These men just want to live their lives quietly without drawing attention.
I guess it’s a bit late for that now.
My pastor Jamey Pricket told us in a sermon last week, “Your dreams may be someone else’s nightmare”. I’ve prayed for over a year for a shelter of some kind for my homeless friends. This new emergency shelter is like a dream come true and I’m praising God for His abundant provision. I truly believe this shelter is an answer to prayer.
However, I think my new prayer will be, “Lord, please don’t let all of this publicity become a nightmare for these men.”