Our city, San Jose, CA, has a huge unsolved problem with homeless. Our church campus has 3 buildings and quite a large surrounding yard, as well as a parking lot. In the last year or so, we have had an issue with homeless people parking there overnight, using outdoor electrical outlets, and outdoor water faucets. Our deacons and others have tried to assist a particular couple who were regularly parking there. The church helped pay for several things they needed, such as a new tire, new jacks, and some other things. Throughout, they were telling the couple that they were helping out, but the couple needed not to use our campus for their place to stay. They referred them to other institutions for assistance. The couple continues to come and our church has had neighbor complaints.
In addition, there has been at least one instance where a different homeless person came, used our water hose to drink, and urinated outside one of the buildings. In that case, two of the church members were on campus, asked him if he needed help, told him he could not sleep on our campus, and the man drove away to a neighboring parking lot.
We want to act the way Christ would like us to act, to help the poor and marginalized, but we are not equipped to be a homeless shelter, and not sure what we can do. Even as we explore whether there might be a way we could be part of a safe parking program or somehow provide more help in an organized way, the question remains, what do we do NOW?
Are any of you in this kind of situation? Do you have suggestions?