Loving God at Love Park

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  • December 28, 2009

The following was put together by Phillip Thomas, one of the folks on our team. Phillip is leading a day for us to love and learn about the poor in Philadelphia.

Loving God at Love Park
Join us on January 2, 2010, as Seven Mile Road hangs out with the homeless at Love Park in Center City Philadelphia. We will be using this opportunity to love and to learn.  We will carry backpacks with granola bars, juice boxes and clean socks that we will distribute to the homeless who live at Love Park and at the subway concourses below City Hall. Our mission is not just the distribution of the food, juice and socks, but taking time to enter into conversations with those homeless persons who will talk to us. It is quite possible that several will not talk to us, and several will want to talk to us the entire time.  The homeless will include the hustlers wanting to make a quick buck off us, to those severely mentally challenged to the substance abusers.

Our job is not to judge. Our mission is to have our hearts affected that same way Jesus’ heart would be in seeing His precious creation in this sorry state.

A.  We will first meet up at Winson & Asha’s home at 10am. We’ll have a time to talk, pray, brainstorm, and discuss how Seven Mile Road can be a merciful & compassionate community like Jesus. How can we love our city? How can we love our world?

B.  Afterwards, around noon, we’ll be heading down to Love Park.

Facts on Homelessness¹

How do we define homelessness?
A person who is homeless does not have a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. This person may be sleeping on the streets, with friends or family, in cars or abandoned buildings or in shelters.

How many people are homeless in Philadelphia?
It is very difficult to accurately determine how many people are homeless. It is estimated that there are approximately 4,000 persons who are homeless on any given day in Philadelphia. This includes only those who are in shelters or on the streets. It does not include those who are in transitional housing, low-demand residences, or in substandard/unfit living conditions.

In 2005, the City’s Office of Emergency Shelter and Services served 14,986 homeless people (including both single adults and family members) through its emergency shelter system. Of this number, 9,468 were adults without children, 2,011 were heads of households, and 3,507 were children. Approximately 20 percent of the single individuals and 13 percent of the families were “chronically homeless” (homeless for one year or longer or four episodes of homelessness in three years).

Who is homeless in Philadelphia?
Homelessness disproportionately affects persons of color, with over 80 percent African-American, about 15 percent White. Children in families constitute approximately a third of the shelter population on any given night. Persons under the age of 18 are the most common shelter users.

What about the people on the streets?
Although the most visible segment of the homeless population are those persons living on the streets, they are at most 10 percent of the total homeless population. In 2005, the highest number of persons on the streets was 505 (August); the lowest was 176 (January). In 1997, evening counts of the street population in Philadelphia showed an all-time high of 824 persons on the streets in the summer and between 170 and 300 in the winter. During the summer, many shelters close, which forces people to live outside and during the winter, colder weather and “Code Blue” days bring more people into shelter. These counts do not include the almost uncountable number of persons living in obscure park areas, vehicles, or abandoned houses.

We’re longing to be a community that is merciful & compassionate like Jesus. Join us we take another baby-step in that direction.

¹ http://www.projecthome.org/advocacy/facts.php
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About Ajay Thomas

Ajay lives in Philadelphia with his wife Shainu and their kids Hannah and Micah. He is responsible for preaching and vision as a pastor at Seven Mile Road.

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