If you live or work in downtown Seattle, if you worship at Plymouth Church, if you drive on the freeways, you have seen the homeless.  If you serve breakfast at First United Methodist Church's Shared Breakfast or volunteer at Mary's Place or the Downtown Emergency Center, you have seen the homeless. Tent City, the Sophia Way, Union Gospel Mission. And then there are all the homeless people you don't see. People who live in their cars or RVs, who go to work at a low-paying job, who fly under the radar. Plymouth Church has had a long history of helping the homeless, of trying to find solutions. 

When I was living in the Greater Los Angeles area in the 1980s, I read an article about a man who founded a non-profit to re-hab old, unoccupied buildings for temporary housing for the homeless. Something about the article struck me profoundly. I kept thinking about it. Around twenty years later, I found myself on a blind date with that man (which definitely comes under the category of "strange, but true"!). He had grown up in an orphanage, knowing what it was like not to have a home of his own. His life was dedicated to helping others escape from homelessness. After his success in Los Angeles, he went to another city where he started another non-profit which provided housing for low-income people. Individuals and small groups can make a difference!

Books about homelessness:

$2.00 a day : living on almost nothing in America /Edin, Kathryn,  339.4 EDI

Down and out in America : the origins of homelessness /Rossi, Peter H.  305.5 ROS

Under the overpass /Yankoski, Michael. 305.5 YAN

Rachel and her children : homeless families in America /Kozol, Jonathan.  362.5 KOZ

Helping the homeless:

Descent into love: How Recovery Cafe came to be/Noe. K. Killian  362 NOE
Skid Road letters: The victorious beginnings of the First Avenue Service Center in Seattle during the 1960sDimock, Herb  362 DIM

Souls in the hands of a tender God: stories of the search for home and healing on the streets/Rennebohm, Craig  242 REN

A street is not a home : solving America's homeless dilemma /Coates, Robert C.,  362.5 COA

And a DVD:

Transformation through partnerships: Systems change to end chronic homelessness/DVD 362.5 TRA 

Habitat for Humanity:

More than houses : how Habitat for Humanity is transforming lives and neighborhoods /Fuller, Millard,  363.5 FUL

The excitement is building /Fuller, Millard,  363.5 FUL

The theology of the hammer /Fuller, Millard,  363.5 FUL

People's stories:

The soloist : a lost dream, an unlikely friendship, and the redemptive power of music /Lopez, Steve.  B AYE

A street cat named Bob : and how he saved my life /Bowen, James  ,B BOW

The glass castle : a memoir/Walls, Jeannette.  B WAL

Fiction:

The annunciation of Francesca Dunn /Hallowell, Janis.  F HAL

No and me /Vigan, Delphine de.  F DEV

Children's:

Fly away home /Bunting, Eve,  E BUN

Way home/Rogers, Gregory  E HAT

Holes /Sachar, Louis,  J F SAC

Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy /Van Draanen, Wendelin. J F VAN

The king of dragons /Fenner, Carol. J F FEN

And another DVD:

Happy-go-lucky/DVD F HAP