Hope for New York hosted a “Serving the Homeless” workshop on Sunday, April 29 for all Redeemer congregations. Led by HFNY staff and Josiah Haken, the Director of Outreach with The Relief Bus, a HFNY affiliate, the workshop examined the state of homelessness and the cycle of poverty in New York City. It addressed common questions and misconceptions about engaging and meeting the needs of the homeless in our neighborhoods.
“Ultimately the goal is to recognize the humanity and dignity of every person we meet,” Haken said. “We don’t want to dehumanize them or throw money at them. We want to see them.”
Haken said that the best way to engage the homeless is to be open to interactions. He says he tries to “go three questions deep” with the people he meets: to ask them at least three questions in an effort to get to know them and their story.
“New York City trains people to keep their heads down and not look around,” he says. “But it’s important to acknowledge the existence of the homeless and to interact with them on the same level that you would interact with anyone else.” He encouraged the attendees to “practice” by volunteering with organizations that are serving the homeless.