This issue of Bearings
moves to the streets, shelters, congregations, and other margins of American cities, where a growing population of people without stable housing find and make their homes. From refugees and immigrants to those cast adrift by family rejection, economic downturns, health crises, and so much more, more than half a million people in America lack safe, stable housing, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Awake to this reality, theologian Boo Riley
and narrative photographer Emilio Bañuelos
take us to homeless encampments on the margins of one of the wealthiest regions in the nation, California’s Silicon Valley, where local ministers provide food, water, clothes, blankets, and interpersonal measures of human compassion to people pushed aside in a world of high tech innovation, start-up IPO millionaires, and parking lots filled with Teslas. Likewise, in the Pacific Northwest, high tech affluence sleeps far too comfortably beside endemic homelessness. On the streets of Seattle, Paul Houston Blankenship
listens to the dreams of people for a vision of community that finds us all friends of God, and prophets of hope for the most vulnerable among us. Back east, in the chill of Portland, Maine, warmed by generous welcome, Courtney Tabor
, of Greater Portland Family Promise, offers insight into the joys and gifts that come to volunteers from local congregations who open their doors to asylum seekers. Finally, we recall another story of sharing shelter in Heidi Shott
‘s moving 2017 reflection on her family’s adoption of a 15-year-old girl who had been homeless.