Encampment Closures: A Letter From Our Founder
At The Human Impact, our work is focused on the people who have been homeless a long time (sometimes called the “chronically homeless”). They each have their own gifts and challenges, past pains and joys. They each have their own life story, still unfolding. Simply, they are human, just like us.
For many reasons, a lot of them choose to stay outside. Often, they come together and place their tents near others so that they are less alone—for protection, for community, and for many other reasons.
Over the past decade of our work, these encampments have been cleared by the City at least a dozen times. For us, it’s never easy to watch, because we work with a people who have very little by way of worldly possessions, who have very often experienced profound trauma and loss, and who value the relationships they have beside them.
On Friday, another such encampment clearing happened. We were able to be with many of the people we love as they had an hour to grab one bag. For us, it was difficult to watch workers come in haz-mat suits and the bulk-trash equipment come while people watched their “homes” be destroyed.
Our friends’ experiences of what happened are as varied as they are as human beings. Many of those we are close to are trying to make the best of it and are offering a deep trust and faith in God through this change. There is a lot of pain, too.
Our work is one of friendship and advocacy. In everything, we try to stay close to the people we are focused on. That means following them wherever they go, supporting them on the journey, filling gaps in needs, and most simply, trying to love.
We have all shed a lot of tears, given a lot of hugs, provided sustenance, prayed a lot, and grounded in the truth that God himself defends the rights of the forgotten, the poor. In moments like this, we really understand what it means for God to be our Great Hope, and we are reminded that, as limited human beings, we cannot fix or solve big issues overnight.
We ground again in our call to love, and we base this call to love on the One, Jesus Christ, who has loved us so much that He took on human form, became vulnerable, lived, healed, made friends, proclaimed the Kingdom of God, and then suffered, was crucified, and then arose, defeating death and pain forever. We hope for the day when all tears will be wiped away and all humans will be treated as Image Bearers of God. Until that day, we love.
Thank you, from our hearts, for how you love, for how you support. Keep up the good work, dear friends.