WElcome to the truth of homelessness

Inner City Mission has been blessed to work with the homeless in our community since 1984. Connie and I came into the ministry in 1996. Working directly and over time with so many homeless and impoverished individuals and families has taught us so much! 

We originally believed homelessness to be about A lack of housing, employment, or money. This is a common perception. Experience has shown us the primary cause of homelessness is a lack of Relational Resources. 

In our country, traditional family units are breaking down with increasing measure. As a consequence, homelessness is growing more than ever. The ones who are most vulnerable are the children. Their lives move from one chaotic event to the next where abuse, neglect, and self-loathing become the hallmark. 

They search for anything to relieve their pain—drugs, alcohol, and sex being just a few of the dulling agents. One fix leads to the next and homelessness is the outcome. Without intervention, the homelessness cycles from generation to generation. 

Our hope with the resources on this website is for you to recognize homelessness as it really is in our community, and to understand what can truly make a difference. We hope to initiate a paradigm shift in the way people view and approach homelessness. Homelessness doesn’t have to be a life sentence! 

Scott & Connie Payne

HOMELESSNESS is not houselessness

Many people in America find homelessness puzzling. Why do some people get back on their feet after a crisis while others do not? The confusion is partly due to the one-size-fits-all definition of homelessness in America: People without housing—for any reason—are considered to be homeless.

While technically true, those without housing must be separated into two groups if we hope to offer lasting solutions:

Those without a house:

Kelly and her husband, John, were knocked out of bed when a lightning bolt struck during a severe storm. Their house began filling with smoke, and within seconds they were homeless. Thankfully, relatives and friends gathered around, and took them in until their house could be repaired.

We call Kelly and John homeless, but were they? Their house had been damaged, but their "home"—the love and support of family and friends—was still intact. Their relationships, personal abilities, and financial resources were sufficient to help them repair their house and move back in within weeks of the lightning strike.

Those without a home:  

Donald was the son of a local prostitute—he never knew his father. His earliest memories reveal a childhood of rejection, ridicule and shame. He had a house where his mother lived but he never had a home. Now in his late thirties, Donald finds it difficult to stay sober long enough to keep a job. He sleeps wherever he can to stay out of the weather.

Donald's story shows the emotional and spiritual poverty of homelessness. Years of chaos, sadness and heartbreak have left him deeply scarred. Donald struggles with identity, worth and purpose. Unlike Houselessness, which is an outside event, Homelessness is an internal struggle that manifests itself as an external problem. It might appear that Donald needs money, a job, or a house, but these things do not resolve the absence of positive relationships and personal abilities.

To address true homelessness in our community, we need to begin with a look into its causes & types.