“Homeless People” Are People First

It was a Tuesday, I remember because I meant to go on a Monday during my lunch break, but a meeting went longer than planned; so, I decided to put off my trip to the DMV another day.

I was waiting in line to renew my vehicle’s registration, and that’s when I saw him.

Just ten months ago, I was a caseworker at our Lawrence Street Community Center. The man I saw was a guy who was once assigned to my caseload in Next Step. I did a double take when he walked in. My pupils must have grown to the size of a quarter when I realized it was him.

“How are you?” I said.

He smiled, it was more of a laugh, really. He told me he was doing well, that he had a job as a foreman, and that he just bought a house in Wheat Ridge. I remember sitting with this man when he was staying at our Lawrence Street Shelter, talking to him about his addiction and the scenarios that led him to the street. And now, just over two years later, he’s sober and he owns a home!

I wanted to share this story with you because stories like this are a testament to a profound truth–people experiencing homelessness are people, and because of that simple truth, they are capable.

Organizations like Denver Rescue Mission specialize in coming alongside people experiencing poverty, empathizing with their situation and speaking truth into their lives–you are worthy. You are valued. Known. Seen. Capable.

These are truths that propel people to find hope and experience a new life. But for many people we serve, believing these truths take time. For so long, people have identified the men and women that we serve as addicts. Burdens. Problems. Homeless.

Some of the people we serve live with an addiction, but they are more than an addict. Many people we serve call the street their home, but they are more than homeless. Their situation does not define them … cannot define them.

They are people. And because of that, they are image-bearers of God. And they are loved. Thank you for helping us show that love to the people we serve.

Jordan Smith

Jordan Smith

For three years Jordan worked at the Lawrence Street Shelter and Lawrence Street Community Center before transitioning into his current role, Writer/Editor/Photographer. In his previous role, Jordan spent his workdays providing support and resources for people experiencing homelessness. On the weekends Jordan enjoys reading the paper while drinking coffee, playing Scrabble and spending time with friends. He currently resides in Green Valley Ranch with his two housemates and a Border Collie named Emma.

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