Your editorial on Hope Station and drug testing ("Test for drugs after emergency passes") makes a number of subjective statements regarding what you believe the mission of Hope Station should be.
I would write this off to intellectual laziness were it not for Editor Jeff Gerritt's column (Jan. 18, 2018) in which you clearly acknowledged that “Hope Station is not a homeless shelter.”
However, in the Nov. 20 editorial, you clearly write as though Hope Station is operating an emergency shelter (“it must maintain a robust emergency shelter program”).
While I completely understand the world of difference between editorials and news articles, facts are not variables. Space does not permit an explanation of why life transformational ministries focused on the whole person are much more important to success than random daily handouts. The evidence is overwhelming from studies in the United States and abroad.
Hope Station’s ministry is wisely focused on the whole person. It is important to understand that, while no person is turned away from Hope Station, some will be offered shelter and help from other ministries, agencies, or even family members who are better able to serve them. This only makes common sense.
And yes, those who choose to take illegal drugs into their systems require definite precautions. Giving the keys to a motel room, even for only one night, to most of these individuals with little accountability is not the most loving option.
Thus, your hypothetical example of the “mother with two children” freezing outside during the night if Hope Station does not offer Detroit-style shelter (see Jan. 18 article), seeks to push Hope Station away from its core mission of life transformation.
It would be a good investigative exercise for the Palestine Herald-Press to find out how many truly “homeless” individuals there are in Anderson County, how those individuals got into those situations, and what the research clearly demonstrates about how to most effectively get those folks out of homelessness.
The random handouts we as a country have based our success upon are clearly not the best answer. Let’s go find out what is!
Southside Baptist Church