When you think you´ve heard it all…

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I like the Springs. Beautiful mountains that can be seen from pretty much anywhere, feels like a city and mountain town at the same time, and lots and lots of great hobo parking. Well, I guess shit happens everywhere. As a result of the city´s decision to ban urban camping while leaving the issue of lacking homeless shelter beds unaddressed, more and more homeless individuals are forced in to the inhospitable and dangerous parts of the city. The following excerpt illustrates the violence that is erupting on the streets and details the story of a homeless woman who suffered through unimaginable torture.

A homeless woman was thrown from a ledge and repeatedly raped for days at the spot where she landed beneath the Cimarron Street bridge – unable to escape because her legs were paralyzed, Colorado Springs police say.

The torture ended when a passerby found her May 2 lying beneath the bridge south of America the Beautiful Park, court documents unsealed this week show.

The assault comes at a time when homeless people are left with little choice but to risk their safety and live outside, because too few shelter beds exist in El Paso County, homeless advocates say.

That reality has exposed one of the region’s most vulnerable populations to theft and violence, especially women.

“It’s the worst part of not having enough shelter space,” said Shawna Kemppainen, executive director of the Urban Peak youth shelter, which is often at or near capacity.

For the woman found beneath Cimarron Street, living on the streets nearly turned deadly.

See full article here.

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3 thoughts on “When you think you´ve heard it all…

  1. Where’s the church?

    I mean, even if you are not a believer, you know that the Scriptures bear witness to the fact that Jesus wants these people cared for – even personally identifies with them (or they personify him) to such an extent that he says your Judgment depends on how you care (or not).

    I am all for holding civic government to account for this… sure. Why not? They are actually being part of the problem (according to your post and the sources it cites). But why not hold the church to account too? Even if you are not a believer/follower, if you have an interest in how these people fair in the city, this is a rich resource of help that has not adequately stepped up to the plate. Why not? The question is a public one. So is the answer. Only the motives are “private” in that sense, but even there, the Scriptures are available to all.

    See Matthew 25 – second half of the chapter. This is the most famous passage that directly deals with the issue.

    Thanx for posting this. It needs to be exposed.

    I am sooooo sorry for that lady. Just an awful crime. I wish I could touch that pain with a healing touch.

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    • I agree with you. I´ve spent some time in that area and distributed food to homeless individuals. Food, however, is not necessarily what the homeless in the Springs lack. They lack being respected. A few years ago the police just walked through the homeless camps destroying their tents and taking their belongings. “There was a sign up telling them to leave” was their excuse. And where exactly were these individuals supposed to go in a city with not enough shelters and strict laws against urban camping? And the community and churches have been quiet about the whole issue. It´s very very sad.

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  2. The church tends to feed (a good thing, but a small good thing) when there is sooooo much more to do. The Scripture actually directs us to take the homeless in – shelter them, even compel them to come in – to party no less! I am not suggesting that we disrespect someone’s decision not to come in, but it is our job up to that point to care for these folk. And beyond that, the church is (or traditionally has been and should be) A -if not THE- moral authority which champions the cause of homeless people. This would include pushing for legislation etc as well as serving, caring, attending in all the myriad ways a ministry might…

    If we asked “WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?” – the guy who gave his life in the place of others – then I would expect church to go stand in solidarity with the homeless when the cops destroy tents. A cop is not likely to destroy a tent if the pastor is in it. That is BAD PRESS, but if he does, then the church will model Jesus.

    Food is good. It is a start. It is an important part. But it is a small part.

    But my real point is to say that whether you or any of your readers are believers/churchgoers or not, it is public business to hold the church to account for lack of action. The church should be the main resource for the poor – according to their own literature. They are the supposed bearers of salvation for the world. Why don’t they act like it? Where are they when the going gets tough? The world is witness. Asking is fair game. Martin Luther King Jr asked it in his cause in the letters from the Birmingham Jail. It still plays today, but no one asks.

    I hope that changes. I happen to be a believer. I want to see “US” be real about it. And the homeless certainly stand to gain from that.

    Again, thanks for posting this. Very sad. We need to pull out all the stops on this. We are supposed to be a civilized society. All hands on deck! That goes for the church as well – especially the church. And Colo Spgs has them. Some big names and big ministries. Where are they?

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