There's a Problem...

It’s easy to ignore a problem.

Busy Bristol; there’s always something going on, and we float in our bubbles, with our jobs, our friends, our hobbies. Every spare moment is filled. It’s almost like we’re afraid to be still, to take our time – but what if we’re moving so fast we’re missing something?

The centre of any city is a chaotic amplification of our society. All walks of life are found here, with the same shops sparkling their displays at us, drawing us in with their huge advertising campaigns. They trick us into thinking we need all this stuff. When money is involved, you can’t hide.

But we know stuff doesn’t make us happy, so why do we continue to hoard so much of it? Perhaps it is easier to justify our over-consumption as compliance with societal norms and expectations, rather than doing what is right – what we know could make a difference in tackling a problem that is literally on our doorsteps: homelessness.

Homelessness is in every city, in every country, but it is particularly rife in Bristol. Homelessness in our city has skyrocketed in recent years and, while an overwhelmingly large problem, we can do something to help.

Everyone deserves to have a home. Luke 10:25-37 tells the parable of the good Samaritan. We all know this story – whether you have a faith or not. It’s in our moral compass to want to help those worse off than us; so what’s pulling us to the seemingly more desirable consumerist way of life?

We need to refocus our priorities and broaden our inner social circles to include the neediest in society. We need to stop leaving the difficult jobs for someone else. We need to approach and care for people who have done nothing for us – because this is what Jesus did.

So, how do we begin the tasking, sometimes uncomfortable, process of helping those who need it most?

Simply by reading this, a seed is planted in your mind. Maybe you will talk to someone about it, maybe you will google your nearest soup kitchen, and maybe you will do nothing at all. But, if I can encourage you to do one thing, it’s to download ‘Streetlink’ to your phone. It’s a free app that allows you to safely and discreetly get help to a person who is sleeping rough, simply by typing in the location and a few other details to describe the person.

We can always do something.

- Naomi Wilson