The Poor You Will Always Have With You

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Christians justify doing nothing for the poor and the homeless by quoting the words of Jesus found in Mark 14:7: “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”

Now, besides the obvious irony of using the words of the same man who told the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, the same man who highlighted the significance of the widow’s generosity, and the same man who constantly warned of the dangers of greed, in order to excuse not lifting a finger to help the poor, there is also another fundamental problem. Read the full post >>>

A Longer Table

“When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.”

I love this quote. It inspires me to live a more generous life, rather than use what I have to insulate myself from other people and their problems.

The problem is that we have usually have a skewed idea of what we need. Many people plan on being generous and sharing with others if they ever hit the lottery. For many, that is the only way they will miraculously have everything they need. Read the full post >>>

What Can I Do About Homelessness?

The most common question that I get about homelessness is simply, “what should I do?”

“I see someone panhandling on the sidewalk, what should do?”

“I’m waiting for my train in Penn Station and there are people everywhere who appear to have no train to catch and no way to catch it, what should I do?”

“Someone approaches me and asks for money, what should I do?”

“There are 60,000 men, women, and children in the NYC shelter system, what should I do?”

The reason why people want to know the right thing to do is because they are so afraid of doing the wrong thing. Read the full post on Medium >>>

Are you listening?

Today a drunk man on the train told me what I needed to hear, probably even a message from God.I am very thankful I was listening.

How often is God trying to speak to you (and me), but you aren't listening because it isn't coming from who you expected it to come from.

You were expecting it from the CEO, but it came from the janitor. You're expecting it from the rich guy, but it came from the poor. You were hoping God would audibly speak what you need to hear, but instead he used a donkeys butt... (legit that's in the Bible, look it up.) Read the full post >>>

What We Think About Homelessness Matters

I recently saw a news story about a technological innovation that someone developed in order to try to help folks living in the street of a big city on the West Coast. In it the news anchor said something to the effect of, “This device will help you give money to the homeless without the fear of them using it to buy drugs.” I’m sure the creator of this particular technology is well-intentioned and it’s completely possible that it will end up helping some people along the way, but I guarantee that it will not shift the narrative around homelessness in general. Read the full post >>>

How do we cope with mental illnesses of the people we serve?

How do we cope with the mental illnesses of the people we serve on the streets of NYC & NJ?

A friend of mine just asked this question as she has a severely mentally ill woman she met.

I think that my reply deserves put out to more than just her.

I definitely feel like this thought becomes a roadblock in peoples minds around them feeling in adequate to do what I or we at New York City Relief do day in and day out.

Here is my reply: Read the full post >>>

My Top 10 Homeless Outreach Tips

Engagement starts when you notice the people that are all around you. Don’t get lost in your own world. Take your headphones out of your ears. Look around. Make eye contact with strangers. Smile. Nod. Say hello. This will inevitably keep you present and available.

TIP #1

Enter into a conversation:

  • Lead by asking for the person’s name. Repeat it. Say “Nice to meet you ‘Joe.’”
  • It’s important that the person hears you calling him by name.
  • It will also help you remember his name later on.
  • If you end up praying for the person, do so by name.
  • Offer your first name. There is no need to share your last name right out of the gate.

Read the full post >>>