"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Everything I hear, from the people in the trenches, the homeless service providers that is, says that demand is up - a lot. That is the best indicator that the homeless population is increasing - a lot.
It is time to stop playing games with the lives of homeless people - political games, religious games, selfish games - or any combination thereof.
Since we have an expectation for political and religious organizations to handle issues of homelessness, and since politicians and religious persons are most likely to make promises of handling homeless issues, it is time for us to pay attention to what these people do for, and to, homeless people. And we need to hold them much more accountable than we currently do.
The wise saying quoted above questions the appropriateness of one's response to those in need. If someone needs water, why give them fire? If someone needs a doctor, why give them a Bible? If someone needs love, why tell them to pray to God? If someone needs food, why give them something they cannot eat?
If someone asks for religious instruction, then by all means give religious instruction. But of all the needs among the homeless, that is the least needed thing.
And for all you people motivated to 'lead homeless people to Christ' I tell you the truth - you are more likely to show the love and healing power of God by providing the practical things of life to the homeless, than by preaching at them. There is no magic in the words within the Bible. The Bible is only an instruction book designed to bring the magic out of you. And only when you get your head out of the Bible and apply what it teaches you, to real world, will you become of any worth, to God or the homeless.