We offer our Engaging Homelessness class as a way to equip people to interact, in a thoughtful and dignifying way, with those those that are experiencing homelessness. In this short seminar we cover the general topic of homelessness, share some insight into the true needs of the homeless community, discuss lessons we have learned through the years, and tell the story of how and why Lazarus was founded.
Our church faces homelessness on a daily basis, because we’re located in the heart of urban area. Honestly, it was really daunting to some of our members and many people just avoided the homeless all together. But, Engaging Homelessness was critical to helping our church move from pity for to engagement with our homeless neighbors. Using humor and stories from her years of experience, Allison helps make engaging with the homeless seem much less daunting and something that anyone could do. Our church tries to host the Lazarus Engaging Homelessness class at least once a year.
– Kevin Lum, The Table Church
We not only seek to clearly communicate the plight of those that are homeless using facts and figures, but we also hope to give a voice to people that often go overlooked and mistreated. We relate the stories of our friends that are homeless and those that have been homeless and now serve with us as volunteers. We emphasize how showing kindness and treating people with respect, no matter their circumstances, can change us all in positive ways.
The class teaches practical tools that can be put into practice on a daily basis. For instance, we cover the wisdom of good boundaries as well as, suggestions like carrying public transit cards, fast food gift cards, or granola bars to share rather than handing out money.
The Engaging Homelessness class is held regularly in Atlanta, GA and Washington, D.C., and by request around the country. It is a goal of Lazarus to teach our model and the lessons we have learned to organizations, churches, nonprofits, and any other group interested in working with the homeless community. Our message is centered on helping others know how to believe in kinship and restore dignity to the ones they are serving.