What do we do to care compassionately for our unhoused friends who have no place to go, no safety, no shelter when it rains or gets cold?

I was really sad when I learned about the “sweeps” of homeless encampments happening in Portland. A “sweep” is when unhoused people’s camps are destroyed and people are forcefully removed from their survival spaces by police and city and state workers. What are people supposed to do when there is nowhere for them to go? Obviously they just find a new place to camp in the city.

I’m afraid that people will continue to die on the streets, as victims of crime (the murders that have been occurring), victims of overdose (extremely common), and victims of exposure and medical complications (winter is approaching).

“I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was without clothing and you clothed me, I was homeless and unwanted, and you took me in and sheltered me, I was sick, and you took care of me.” Jesus identified with the poorest of the poor among us. The unhoused camper trying to survive – that could be Jesus.

What can we do? We can treat people with compassion and end the “sweeps.”

Aaron Hoffman

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: