Until recently I would have never ever considered that as a solvable problem. Yet, through a random series of events I crossed paths with a man named Steven, someone I now consider a friend. He has a passion to bring the stories of this city to light and provide an avenue that allows people to follow the story and take part in it themselves to come together to bring redemption to these stories in our city. In talking with him he explained that there are only **800 or so homeless people in Denver (See note at bottom), and “that is a solvable problem”. Not knowing this number before, I would have never considered that, however he’s right. We have more that 800 churches in Denver, so getting 800 people off the streets is not an impossible feat. It is a tremendous and great feat to say the least, its a systematic problem, but impossible it is not.

Last night we were at Steven’s house and he prepared an incredible amount of food for a party he was throwing. At the end of it he realized he had got way too much food, Megan and I encouraged him to wrap it up in tin foil and bring it to the homeless in Denver the next day. He thought it was a great idea and Megan, Steven, Noel and myself heading into Denver this morning to share some food with those that didn’t have any and more importantly hear their stories. Each of us had our own unique experience but for Megan and I we got to hear in depth why the problem of being homeless is so much more complex than a lack of resources. The influence of drugs, corruption from authority, greed and a whole host of other things contribute to it. To solve this it’s going to take groups of people working together holistically.

Without spending too much time on the sociology part of this I just wanted to share some stories with the people we got to spend time with. Tony a man we spent most of our time with explained why changing your expectations is a critical step to surviving on the streets. “Having hopes in things that will never come to pass will eventually kill you” he went on to explain that “I don’t give up in trying to create change for my situation but I don’t put a daily expectation into it”. Tony is an extremely talented, creative, and wise man. I am continually blown away by the people I meet on the streets. I have met many men and women who have more knowledge than me and yet through unexpected series of events they ended up on the streets. The thing that most of these people lack the most is community. Community is the for most of us the difference between us being on the streets or not when we lose our job. They lack the social structures that allow people to be sustained when they loose everything. We are so grateful for the time we got to spend with Tony and others today. While talking Tony decided to draw a picture of Megan. Pretty amazing considering he did it with a terrible pencil and in about 10 minutes.
Denver Homeless

I wish we could have shared every persons story that we met today, each person has been shaped and transformed by the streets. This is a video of another incredibly talented individual that we got to spend some time with:

This is a great challenge, how can we join in their suffering showing them the love with have without coming across as doing it for ourselves to only make us feel good. Navigating this thin line between loving people without condition and coming across as superior or condemning is a very thin thread. As we sat there on the corner of Broadway and Park Avenue we witnessed multiple drug deals, pimping, prostitution, and people sharing a crack pipes all sitting right next to us. These are the people Messiah died for, these are our fellow men and women, these are Denver citizens. The difference is that we got to walk away from those places on the streets and come home; for them that’s life. Trying to engage in an authentic way and create sustainable change is going to be an incredible challenge. We’re not looking for a magic wand and we know that this takes time and continually showing up and being part of the story. However, without hesitancy, I believe that if people choose to come together we could solve this as a city: 800 is a solvable problem.

** 800 was the number provided by the Q Conference in regards to “unsheltered” homeless people. There are probably closer to 12K individuals in Denver who are out of their home living in government housing, sheltered facilities, and friends and family. http://www.tgpdenver.org/homelessnessfaq has a bit of information on this.