Homelessness isn't about being lazy, and addictions aren't always about drugs and crime.
When the bible quotes Jesus in Matthew 25, saying, "The least of these," it isn't a statement about the value of hurting, dislocated people. Yet, because the problems of homeless living and addiction are so often associated with crimes and bad behavior, people caught in this place in life are normally treated with derision and distrust. Society does its best to ignore a problem that is not only not going away, but growing at an all-too quick pace.
The homeless community is a diverse one and includes a wide variety of demographics including children, teens, seniors. These demographics are made up of the chronically homeless, the mentally ill, our veterans, the unemployed and the underemployed.
As stated previously, homelessness in and around Portland continues to grow out of control. On September 24th, 2015, Portland's mayor, Charlie Hales, announced a "State of Emergency" for homelessness and housing. Though the government has a few programs for assisting this community, the majority of the opportunity to make a difference in these lives rests with the private community.
In American society, addictions normally start early in life. According to a US News report, a 2011 study shows 90% of people hooked drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, start in the teen years, with gambling and sexual addictions starting not very much later in life. Often when people get caught up in these choices early in life, they are a result of choices someone else made for them or other influences; such as abuse, neglect, or just following in a parent or guardian's footsteps.
These issues can affect all of life, including one's ability to live a stable life and function in a way society would consider normative. Very rarely can they break out of this cycle without the help of a person, group, or community that believes in them and gives them a hand up.
A Place of Worship exists to serve this specific needs of the homeless and addicted community, both their spiritual needs through the gospel of Jesus Christ, and their practical needs through food, clothing, blankets, toiletries, and social assistance.