Bellflower Counts: We Count our Homeless Because our Homeless Count

As I think back on this past weekend, I’m not quite sure where to begin. How do I write just one little blog post that does justice to all of the incredible stories I was told these past couple days by our homeless neighbors? I got the privilege of being involved with Bellflower Counts this weekend, and I can’t think of many other times where I have felt more content than during this event. Bellflower Counts was what I was working towards all summer, as a Kingdom Causes intern. I think that, prior to the actual event, my thoughts were consumed by the logistics of making Bellflower Counts happen (Did we collect enough donations? Will we have enough volunteers? Are all of our volunteer packets put together?). However, once Bellflower Counts actually arrived, the only thing that was important was the people. Our homeless neighbors. I spent consecutive 4am mornings on the streets of Bellflower, interacting with homeless Bellflower residents and finding out what exactly their health and housing needs are. Although I had a survey full of questions to guide my conversation with the neighbors, we never entirely stuck to just the survey. Somehow, I always found myself engulfed by a life story that was being shared with me. Nearly every homeless neighbor that I interacted with was more than willing to stop what s/he was doing to talk to me about life. Conversation flowed so simply, and each time it happened, my heart would get a little sadder. My heart would get sadder because it’s always so evident to me, when involved with the homeless population, that this group is so heavily marginalized and not many people stop to talk to them. The minute someone takes a second to genuinely ask, “How is your day?” endless amounts of conversation come pouring out. Granted, not every person responds in the same way, but in my interactions, this so often seems to be the case. I feel so filled after this weekend because I got to spend time in good conversation with our homeless neighbors. I also leave feeling very hopeful that the Bellflower Counts survey results will put us onto a path of housing some of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever met, who truly are interested in being housed.

My prayer for the neighbors I got to spend time with this weekend…
"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh."

Luke 6:20-21
Abbey NishimotoComment