I was glad to see someone doing something.
Yesterday Brian Combs, pastor of Haywood Street Congregation, led several hundred people on a 5K walk through town.
Along the way, they stopped at various places that provide help and assistance to the city’s homeless population. At each place they stopped, Brian would give a two minute spiel about the facility, what they did and how the homeless can access the services.
Brian runs a true “grassroots” ministry and outreach. If you look in the dictionary under “grassroots” you’ll see that the power in such a structure comes from the bottom — the roots.
Too many organizations here in town and elsewhere have a top down power structure. The officers and board members set on their ivory chairs telling the workers what to do and how to do it.
Programs like that fail for a number of reasons. I’m sorry to see Asheville Homeless Network (AHN) go that way also.
AHN’s mission statement states that it is a program run “by the homeless, for the homeless…”. For most of it’s 9 year existence, the homeless population made up 90% of the officers, members and board. Now 75% of the people running the program have never experienced homelessness.
Instead they’re top heavy with “do-gooders” that think they have the answer to the problem and can best serve the homeless population. Instead, they just set around the meeting tables coming up with ideas — but never having the balls, energy or gumption to put their ideas into action.
Thanks Brian for showing people not only what grass roots is…but also that grass roots can work!
Click here to see some of the shots from yesterday’s “Awareness Walk”